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Gregory Sass.
Erin , ON: The Porcupine's Quill, 1985.
95pp., paper, $7.95.
ISBN 0-88984-083-0. CIP.

Grades 7-8 / Ages 12-13

Reviewed by Elaine Balpataky.

Volume 14 Number 4
1986 July

Redcoat is a young man novel, somewhat reminiscent of Cue For Treason by Geoffrey Trease. The hero, a thirteen-year-old boy from a poor Scottish borderland family, flees bullying, injustice, and cruelty at home, only to find greater injustice, cruelty, and danger as a British infantry-man in 1811-1812. After recruitment and a few week's training, he is shipped to Québec, thence to Upper Canada to fight the Americans. Surviving a successful battle at Detroit, he deserts his regiment, is forced to join a band of Indians, is involved in further fighting suffers the loss of a hand, endures a flogging, and loses a friend. He is then shipped back to England, finally returning to his native village and the forgiveness of his father.

The book's size (14 cm x 22.2 cm) the illustrations, the print, and the age of the hero all suggest its intended audience as grades 6 to 8. Short sentences and paragraphs and a limited number of pages reinforce this view. However, archaic language and idiom, while adding an historical flavour, serve to increase the reading level. Recommended for better readers only.

Elaine Balpataky, Ingersoll D.C.I., Ingersoll, ON.
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