Tuesday, June 26, 2012
A Grand Adventure: For Kids and Adults
The Journey of the Shadow Bairns by Margaret J. Anderson
1980; 177 pp
It was probably more than 30 years ago that I first read The Journey of the Shadow Bairns by Margaret J. Anderson. It had been one of my very favorites when I was about 10 years old. I always remembered the story. I recently found a used copy on Amazon and decided to revisit this novel -- to see what it was that intrigued me so much all those years ago.
I was not disappointed. This is a story of two recently orphaned children who travel from Scotland to Canada in 1903 to make their father's dream a reality -- and to stay together. I fell in love with Elspeth and Robbie all over again and found myself rooting for them. The trip is scary and exciting, and filled with obstacles. The world is depicted as a hard and unyielding place -- with very few relatively soft spots to squeeze into. Elspeth has a quiet strength that is felt consistently throughout the book.
This is great storytelling for kids (especially girls) from about 9 to 12. But adults will also get drawn into these rich characters and their struggles to make a new life in a untamed land.