The Canadian Homeschooler Review - Rescue at Fort Edmonton

Living Book Review
Reviewed by: Lisa Marie

Title: Rescue at Fort Edmonton
Author: Rita Feutl
Publisher: Coteau Books

Age Range: Children (9+)
Time Period: 1846-1929
Location: Fort Edmonton

"Janey Kane doesn't want to spend the summer in Edmonton with her grandmother, but her parents don't leave her much choice. She soon finds out the reason she's been sent there, and she's not happy about it.

Then Granny Kane takes her to historic Fort Edmonton, where Janey's pulled into strange adventures that take her back through time. It all starts when she drops Granny's antique locket.

Why is Janey getting a crash course in Edmonton's history? If she can work out why she's travelling to the past, she may learn something important about her family.

And she may be able to prevent a disaster."

A time-travelling novel, this book takes young Janey Kane on an adventure though history at Fort Edmonton. Each trip takes her to a different part of the developing story, giving a short but fascinating glimpse at both life and experiences of the times. Combine that with her own teenage struggles of family and the unknown, and you have a good story.

The author has done a good job of painting a snapshot of life in several different time periods through vivid language, high action, and interactions with characters Janey encounters on her various journeys. Though short experiences – you can feel the tensions and emotions that various people were going through. It's like a snapshot of time.

At first, I found Janey's character moody, rude, and rather irritating with her language and actions. She doesn't want to be in Edmonton, she wants to be home in Toronto with her friends.  Even after she learns her Grandma has cancer, she still acts in a very self-centred way. It was a little annoying, but I suppose it is relevant teenage behaviour.

Note: Other than the initial teenage attitude oozing from the first few pages and a short blip of "mean girls" style bullying from a kid in Edmonton as Janey tries to fit in, the modern day experiences are rather mellow. The story does deal with a grandma with cancer and how she might not make it. In the past, Janey experiences some rather aggressive physical and verbal bullying from one character, encounters racist bullying against immigrants, and participates (unwillingly) in the butchering of a deer. 

Novel Study

Coteau Books has done a fantastic job of providing ways to bring living books to the education setting by offering novel study guides for many of their historical fiction books, including this one. Breaking the story down into chapters, this book study is aimed at students in Grades 4.

It provides opportunities for exploring new vocabulary, thinking more in-depth about the story and events, observing character development, journal response prompts, and activities to expand on the things learned both about the event and the time period. It includes a teacher's guide complete with printables, conversation starters, and everything else needed to dig deeper into this story.

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