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Fiction Ages 9-12
Pages: 192
Themes: "immigration, family issues, prairie settlement"
Publisher: Coteau Books
Pub Date: 01/May/2011
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Erik never wanted to leave his grandfather's farm, and the memory of his dead father, in Norway. But in Canada his family can have their own farm, so Erik, his mother, and his older sister Elsa journey to the Canadian west with Rolf, their mother's new husband, Rolf. Rolf is a hard man to talk to and even harder to get to know. And he's keeping a secret from his new family. Erik does a man's work, helping Rolf break land and build a sod house. Rolf's brother and his son Olaf live in the nearby town. Olaf looks a lot like Rolf, but for some reason won't talk to him, and seems to resent Erik as well. The boys start to get along through their shared efforts to save Tapper, an injured horse. Tapper gets well enough to be entered in a local horserace and turns out to be a real winner. "Tapper" is the Norwegian word for "brave," and Erik really must be "tapper" to face all the challenges of his new life and be a winner himself.

Kirkus Reviews
"This tale draws its grace from the fine, detailed portrait of immigrants making their way in a new world."
"Dueck weaves information about prairie settlers in the early 1900s into vivid scenes of trapping, fishing, and working on the farm...Erik's and Olaf's personal situations and their ambivalence toward each other are well drawn and subtly contrasted. This Canadian novel dovetails neatly with American stories of pioneer life on the prairies."
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"Gives a good picture of what it was like living on the Prairies in the early 20th century...It may come as a shock to some young people whose parents do so much for them, that in earlier times children did so much for their parents."
CM Magazine
"A fascinating work of historical fiction...Dueck creates prose that effectively captures the complex beauty and lurking danger of the seemingly flat and barren prairie. The real story is in the extraordinary fine details of the human experience of settling on the prairie...Erik is a well-rounded and believable focal character who invites the readers to recognize that the settler's hardships and ways of living were not what many of them were accustomed to...Life as a settler on the prairies is full of work and activity, and Dueck's plot mirrors this pace in a way that balances the rich descriptions of the land without bogging down the novel. Readers will be drawn into the story by the characters and kept there by the powerful history of life on the prairies. Highly Recommended."
Canadian Teacher
"This book would well support the study of pioneer life on the prairies, immigration to Canada, and many other areas of the Social Studies curriculum at multiple grade levels."


OLA Best Bets  | 2011 | Commended
Red Cedar Book Award nominee  | 2012 | Short-listed
High Plains Book Award nominee  | 2012 | Short-listed

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