________________ CM . . . . Volume XXII Number 23 . . . . February 19, 2016


A Bone to Pick. (A Peggy Henderson Adventure; Book 4).

Gina McMurchy-Barber.
Toronto, ON: Dundurn, 2015.
163 pp., trade pbk., PDF & EPub, $12.99 (pbk.), 12.99 (PDF), $8.99 (EPub).
ISBN 978-1-4597-3072-4 (pbk.), ISBN 978-1-4597-3073-1 (pdf), ISBN 978-1-4597-3074-8 (Epub).

Grades 6-9 / Ages 11-14.

Review by Daphne Hamilton Nagorsen.

**½ /4



"You're right about that, Professor," Betha chimed in when she caught us talking. "I can tell this one is a spitfire, but I think we've come to an understandin'. After I rein her in some, she might make a good cook's helper, after all." Bertha winked at Eddy, who looked sheepish. "Okay, Princess Peggy, ya done well. Now go have lunch with yer friend."

"Really? Thanks." She didn't have to tell me twice. I ripped off my apron, grabbed a tray, and helped myself to lunch. When I got to the table where Eddy sat, there were no free chairs. She pointed to the table behind her. "Hey, people, this here is my young friend, Peggy Henderson. She's working as cook's help for the duration of field school. But she's keen about archaeology and will no doubt be making her way around our site from time to time. Feel free to share what you've learned."

"From what I hear, she already knows everything," Robbie said, smirking. I wanted to sneer too, but with all the other students looking at me I decided it was better if I pretended I hadn't heard her remark. After introductions, no one took any notice of me.

Peggy Henderson suddenly finds herself heading to Newfoundland to assist at an archaeological excavation where Dr. Edwina McKay is teaching a summer field school. Much to her disappointment, she is to be a cook's helper rather than participating in the dig, and she will have very little time for archeology. Having been involved in archeological digs before, Peggy has considerable knowledge, but she soon alienates the field school students by bragging about her past experiences. Peggy also quickly demonstrates her lack of cooking skills. While she does find a Viking burial cairn, she is not allowed to participate in the excavation. Peggy's summer looks like it is going to be a disaster.

      A Bone to Pick is the fourth book in the Peggy Henderson adventure series by Gina McMurchy-Barber. Peggy discovered her interest in archaeology in the first book, Reading the Bones, after finding a skull in her aunt's backyard and meeting her aunt's friend, Dr. Edwina (Eddy) McKay. In each book, Peggy goes on a new adventure with Dr. Eddy, but she always runs into problems because of her age and behaviour.

      Readers will identify with Peggy. She tries to act older than 13 but doesn't succeed all the time. In the previous book, Bone Deep, Peggy had to learn about responsibility and honesty. In A Bone to Pick, Peggy must learn more about responsibility and also about boasting and how that can affect people. Peggy is more over the top than usual in this book with her boasting and egotism, to the point where some readers may be turned off the rest of the story. As with the other books, Peggy has to learn some important lessons (and learn to cook) to make the situation right.

      The second narration in A Bone to Pick follows Sigrid, a young Viking girl in Vinland over a thousand years before. Sigrid wishes to be a warrior instead of following the traditional path for women in her society. As part of the Viking settlers in Newfoundland, Sigrid's story presents some of the history of the L'Anse aux Meadows settlement. This adds interest to the story for readers and provides some needed breaks from Peggy and her troubles.

      Gina McMurchy-Barber's research, along with her interest in archaeology, shows up throughout the story, especially in Sigrid's story. While Sigrid, herself, is a fictional character, three of the Vikings were real people who were part of the L'Anse aux Meadows settlement. This depth of knowledge can inspire readers who are interested in history and archaeology.

      A Bone to Pick is another interesting archeological adventure.


Daphne Hamilton Nagorsen is a graduate of the School of Library, Archival and Information Studies at the University of British Columbia, Vancouver, BC.

To comment on this title or this review, send mail to cm@umanitoba.ca.

Copyright © the Manitoba Library Association. Reproduction for personal use is permitted only if this copyright notice is maintained. Any other reproduction is prohibited without permission.
Published by
The Manitoba Library Association
ISSN 1201-9364
Hosted by the University of Manitoba.

Next Review | Table of Contents for This Issue - February 19, 2016.

CM Home
| Back Issues | Search | CM Archive | Profiles Archive