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Tom Cummings.

Saskatoon, Western Producer Prairie Books, c1983.
110pp, paper, $9.95.
ISBN 0-88833-109-9.

Grades 7 and up.
Reviewed by David Chadwick.

Volume 12 Number 2
1984 March

Gopher Hills is a collection of short sketches of life on a prairie farm just before the outbreak of World War I. The narrator of the stories is ten-year-old Tommy who learns about the ways of human beings and animals as he is educated by both a teacher in a one-room school and the variety of characters in Gopher Hills. The book tells of the coming of new concepts and inventions such as the telephone and how it changed the West. One of the funniest stories is the arrival of an evangelist. As Tommy puts it, the community was deprived until then for, "There was no sin around Gopher Hills until the evangelist came. Then there was sin all over the place. Everybody had it in one form or another."

The innocence of Tommy and the community, which is the charm of the book, is gradually shattered as the outside world and World War I intrudes into the life of the community. Tommy is taken aside and told that he must leave the West someday and study, for the West is growing and changing.

Gopher Hills is light entertainment and is recommended for school and public libraries for general interest reading.

David Chadwick, Norway House H. S., Norway House, MB.
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