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Audrey Marsh
Illustrated by Elizabeth Owen

Halifax, Nimbus, 1990. 126pp, paper, $6.95
ISBN 0-921054-40-8. CIP

Grades 4 to 6/Ages 9 to 11
Reviewed by Adele Ashby

Volume 19 Number 6
1991 November

In 1783, a group of New England Loyalists sets sail for Nova Scotia. On board ship is thirteen-year-old Amos, an orphan who is going to be placed with a series of families until he is old enough to support himself.

In his second home, he encounters the bear of the title, who manages to carry off a baby pig that Amos rescues. While fishing with his friend Percy, Amos meets Yvette, a half-French, half-Micmac girl, and witnesses for the first time the way in which some people react to strangers when Percy sees her as a threat. Amos takes the problem to Old Antoine, the settlement's only Acadian. It turns out that Yvette is his long-lost grand-niece, and they bring her back to the settlement, only to discover that the community does not want her. A third encounter with the bear helps change its mind.

Marsh has blended into the story information on early life in Canada, on soap making, maple sugaring, log hauling, and so on, and has tried to deal with an important issue, prejudice. Unfortunately, the story itself is pedes­trian and is blighted by sloppy editing.

Adele Ashby, Toronto, Ont.
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