RACING HOME by Adele Dueck


Age Range: 9 - 13
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A deliberate look at Norwegian immigrants on the Canadian prairie recalls Sarah, Plain and Tall for a slightly older audience. When 12-year-old Erik's mother remarries, she promises him that they'll stay close to his grandparent's Norwegian farm. Instead, within a year, Erik's taciturn stepfather, Rolf, has taken them first to Minnesota and then to the wilds of Saskatchewan, ostensibly in search of his brother, Lars. Erik dislikes Rolf and feels uncomfortable on the flat Western prairies, so different from home, but he loves farming and he works hard to help Rolf build a new home. Soon Erik discovers what Rolf told his mother but not him—he has a son from his first marriage, raised by his brother after Rolf's wife died, and it's really Olaf, now nearly grown, that Rolf traveled all this way to see. Olaf resents Rolf and seems to be headed for trouble, and Rolf seems uncomfortable around him, but as the year progresses so do the characters. Erik comes to admire Rolf's hard work and persistence and Olaf's generosity; they begin, slowly, to feel like a family. A subplot about thieving cowboys and a horse race doesn't add much to the story, but it doesn't hinder it, either. This tale draws its grace from the fine, detailed portrait of immigrants making their way in a new world. (Historical fiction. 9-13)

Pub Date: May 1st, 2011
ISBN: 978-1-55050-450-7
Page count: 192pp
Publisher: Coteau Books
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1st, 2011


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