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Bobbie Kalman.

Toronto, Crabtree Publishing, c1982.
64pp, cloth, $11.15 (cloth), $7.95 (paper).
ISBN 0-86505-017-1 (cloth), 0-86505-016-3 (paper).

Grades 3 and up.
Reviewed by Margaret Marsh.

Volume 11 Number 2.
1983 March.

The Early Family Home, part of The Early Settler Life series, contains over one hundred black-and-white illustrations: engravings, paintings by famous Canadian artists, photographs of restored pioneer homes. The author writes in an anecdotal style, giving short (one- or two-page) vignettes of various aspects of home life in pioneer days, for example, "Clearing the Land," "Old-Fashioned Fun," "Making Candles," "The Romance of Quilting."

The author attempts to make the early family home come alive for the reader. Pioneer life is seen through the eyes of Samantha Stell as she shares her settler story in diary form throughout much of the text. When they first arrived in the new land, the Stells built a crude log cabin in the wilderness. Over the years they obtained many of the luxuries of civilization, and, in the final vignette, Samantha, now grown up and married with children of her own, plans a luxurious new plank house.

Although the excellent illustrations and informative glossary make The Early Family Home a useful addition to any library, the text is sometimes difficult to follow, and in some places even contains errors. There is no indication where "the early family home" of the title is located. Internal evidence suggests Ontario, but nowhere does the author specify. There is also no specific time frame: Kalman merely speaks of "the earliest settlers," with no time reference given. Her book is valuable resource material for teachers, but its use by young students may be limited.

Margaret Marsh, Waterloo County Board of Education, Kitchener, ON.
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