Saskatoon StarPhoenix Review - Racing Home

Reviewed by: Bev Brenna

Racing Home a vivid Prairie tale

Lucky Lake author Adele Dueck has recently won a Saskatchewan Book Award in the children's literature category for her new juvenile novel Racing Home (Coteau Books paperback; $8.95). Hanley, Saskatchewan, in 1908 is an evocative backdrop for this story, foregrounding well-defined characters and a strong, clear plot.

Twelve-year-old Erik wished he could have stayed on his grandfather's farm in Norway, where he was closer to his dead father, but instead he's on the Prairies with his mother, his sister and a stepfather whom he doesn't at first respect. Showing the adeptness of an experienced writer, Dueck plants pieces of the plot like breadcrumbs throughout the text, leaving a careful trail for readers to follow. With a dialogue that includes choice phrases in Norwegian, the story unfolds to tell of a family's transition to a place where oxen and sod shacks are common, where breaking the land takes sweat and tears, and where doctors are hard to come by - unless you can ski to town and beg relatives for help.

How Erik comes to terms with his new life, and a relationship with his half-brother he never knew he had, is the heart of this tale, involving two boys that turn a badly injured horse back into the prize winner he once was. Strong local fare for ages eight to 12.

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