October 15, 2014

The birth of Canada

Born! A Foal, Five Kittens and Confederation
by Deirdre Kessler
illustrated by Brenda Jones

Nine-year-old twins Gabriel and Grace help their parents run the Great George Street Livery Stables in Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island. It is 1864, and a circus is coming to town. Politicians as well. The twins are more excited about their favourite horse, who is about to have her first foal. But visits from their friend, fourteen-year-old artist Robert Harris, who's also a musician, gives them an insider’s peek at the meetings that lead to Confederation.

Deirdre Kessler blends fact and fiction to provide a reasonably entertaining story about the biggest moment in Canadian history. In having to explain all the key events, Robert's dialogue is often long and unwieldy, which interrupts the story's flow. But at least his information is accurate. As for the rest of the story, a cat obviously has its kittens and the horse its foal. But it's up to the reader (or listener) to decide if the foal is male or female.

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