A missing sword, a cow, a one-armed man, and a first crush all combine to make this camping trip the weerdest ever.
Brothers Bunny and Spencer accompany their grandfather to a re-enactment of the Battle of Beaver Dams from the War of 1812. Bunny, seeing the armies preparing for battle, mistakenly believes that a real war between Canada and the United States is imminent. When someone steals Tecumseth’s sword on the night before the battle, it is up to Bunny and his new friends, siblings Tyler and Beth, to find it. Without it, the leader of the First Nations confederacy will be unable to lead the Canadians to victory. Narrator Bunny’s learning disability means that his essay about the camping trip, which makes up the novel’s text, is full of misunderstandings and misspellings. However, his simple assessments of war, bullying, and controlling one’s emotions are wise. The white boy’s acceptance of diversity in others is equally noteworthy. He describes Beth as having “brown [skin] like wet toffee”; Tyler, who never speaks, is darker. When Beth, part Mohawk, calls herself an Indian, Bunny thinks to himself, “Indians are from India.…I didnt think Beth was from India but I wasnt going to tell her what she culd call herself.” American readers unfamiliar with this event in history will likely still be unclear after Bunny’s fractured retelling, but Bunny’s personality and voice will carry them along.
An unconventional narrator steals the show. (Fiction. 9-12)