Through the Looking Glass Children's Book Reviews

Ticket to Curlew

Ticket to Curlew

Celia Barker Lottridge
Historical Fiction
For ages 10 and up
Groundwood Books, 2007   ISBN: 978-0888998439

Sam, his mother, father, brother Matt, and his sister Josie are moving to a town called Curlew on the Alberta prairie lands in Canada. Sam and his father leave their home in Jericho, Iowa, ahead of the family so that they can get the farm started and a house built. For Sam, the flatness of the land and the fact that there are no trees in Curlew makes it hard for him to get used to his new home. In fact, he feels no connection with this new place until something very extraordinary happens. Whilst out walking on the prairie one day, Sam finds a buffalo skull. Suddenly it seems, the prairie is no longer just an open space of endless sky and tall grasses. Now it is a place with a history, a place where buffalo and Indians used to live, and a place that he can begin to think of as his own, a place that is full of surprises and treasures if you know where to look.

   Once the rest of the family arrive, things get better and Sam and his sister Josie have to get ready to go to school again. The one thing that makes going to school so much better here inCanadais that they get to ride there and better still, they get a horse to ride on. Bought from a neighbor, Prince is soon Sam’s very special friend and the two spend many hours together riding on the prairie and exploring.

   The author of this remarkable book has created a work that transports the reader to a time that was not really that long ago and yet that was so different from our own time. It is fascinating to follow the adventures and misadventures if this courageous, hard-working, and generous family. Ticket to Curlew is truly hard to put down and a joy to read. The book won the Canadian Library Association Book of the Year for Children Award.