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Caroline Parry
Toronto, Scholastic Canada, 1994. 240pp, paper, $7.95
ISBN 0-590-74096-2. CIP

Grades 4-8/ Ages 9-13

Reviewed by Adele M. Fasick

Volume 22 Number 5
1994 October

Based on a genuine journal kept by 12-year-old Eleanora Hallen more than 150 years ago, this book squeezes a great deal of Canadian history into one volume. Although the real journal entries form the backbone of the book, the material is enlivened by Caroline Parry's explanations of habits, manners and history as well as by drawings and maps.

The book concentrates on Eleanora's 1835 journal, which includes an account of the Hallen family's move from England to Canada. Excerpts from diaries of other years and of other family members are interspersed to clarify events. Eleanora's accounts of the family activities are usually brief and unadorned, and the events themselves are seldom dramatic. During one of the days at sea, her entry reads, "We have half a tea cup full of water at dinner. My father sets at table, but I can't."

As a narrative, the journal would not hold the interest of many children. It is the background material and illustrations that build up a fascinating picture of pioneer life in Upper Canada. Teachers and librarians can use the book to encourage children to learn about Canadian history and to understand how it felt to face an unexpected future in a strange new country.

Parry has written a book that deserves a place in every school and public library.

Adele M. Fasick is a professor in the Faculty of Information Science at the University of Toronto in Toronto, Ontario.

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