A Pioneer Story: The Daily Life of a Canadian Family in 1840 by Barbara Greenwood
Illustrated by Heather Collins
Pioneer Story series
Finished: Sep.18, 2009
First Published: 1994
Genre: historical fiction, pioneer life, crafts, non-fiction
The Robertsons are a pioneer family living on a backwoods farm in 1840.
Reason for Reading: Read aloud to the 9yo as part of our history curriculum. Qualifies for the Canadian Reading Challenge.
Comments: Follows the daily life of a pioneer family, the Robertsons, living on a backwoods farm in Southern Ontario in 1840 from spring to New Years. Along with Ma and Pa, the family consists of two elder children (brother & sister), two younger children (brother & sister), a baby and Granny from Scotland. Told in the third person, the story is given alternately from the younger sister and brother's points of view making the book accessible to both boys and girls. The story itself is very quaint and charming, told in episodic format and can be compared to one of the early Laura Ingalls Wilder books. The illustrations are very detailed drawings done in dark brown and sepia tones; very complimentary to the text.
What makes this book a little extra special is that between each chapter is a non-fiction section which describes some of the topics brought up in the story such as maple sugaring, shearing sheep, house raising, threshing, guns, the traveling preacher, etc. Also in this section are crafts to make using either pioneer techniques or making items similar to what the pioneers used. These are simple to do but will take a trip to the store to purchase not necessarily just laying around the house items.
An excellent book. This is the second time I've read it and it is one of the better Canadian history books out there. Thankfully the publishers recognise this also and have kept this book in print for so long, not an easy feat for a Canadian kids' history book. Certainly worth buying if you have more than one child and a must for a homeschool library. There are two sequels which follow the Robertsons through the holidays:
A Pioneer Thanksgiving
A Pioneer Christmas
The book has also been given an American work over (the setting has simply been changed to upstate New York and any Canadian references and spelling Americanized) and a new title A Pioneer Sampler: The Daily Life of a Pioneer Family in 1840.
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