________________ CM . . . . Volume XXII Number 41. . . .June 22, 2016


Speed. (The Seven Prequels).

Ted Staunton.
Victoria, BC: Orca, 2016.
146 pp., trade pbk., pdf & epub, $9.95 (pbk.).
ISBN 978-1-4598-1161-4 (pbk.). ISBN 978-1-4598-1162-1 (pdf), ISBN 978-1-4598-1163-8 (epub).

Grades 4-7 / Ages 9-12.

Review by Mark Mueller.

*** /4

Reviewed from Advance Reading Copy.



Farb is re-enactor slang for someone who doesn’t take their role seriously enough – like, say, chewing bubble gum in uniform.


Spencer, an adventurous pre-adolescent with a taste for excitement, is seeking to liven up a “boring” camping trip in Queenston Provincial Park with his grandfather and younger brother, Bernard. After losing his cellular phone and having his grandfather find and return it to him later, Spencer finds himself on a small filming adventure with a War of 1812 reenactment crew and a group of students from Niagara College. Spencer’s overhearing a conversation between a crooked history buff and a colleague sends him on a race against time to save Laura Secord’s cowbell and to find his brother. While doing so, Spencer gets his first taste of independence, historiography, and what it means to be authentic.

      Speed is a neat coming-of-age story that weaves together elements of history as well as action and adventure from a pre-adolescent boy’s perspective of the world. As with his other works, Ted Staunton does a marvelous job of creating a narrative and world from the perspective of his young characters. Speed is also an interesting story that would help young readers ask themselves questions about independence and what we can really know about history. Spencer is a likeable character who meets some unusual and quirky characters in his adventures at the park that shows the world to be an interesting and beautiful place. I enjoyed reading this novel, though the story did seem a little slow at times. Still the book, a complementary novel to Jump Cut (Seven The Series) and Coda (The Seven Sequels), would be a good addition to any school library and an interesting work to weave into a cross-curricular unit on literacy and history.


Mark Mueller is a librarian living and working in the city of Toronto, ON.

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.
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ISSN 1201-9364
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