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The Flying Canoe

Overview

On New Year’s eve, 1847, eleven-year-old Baptiste finds himself far from his friends and family and his home in La Beauce. He has come to the woods of the Ottawa Valley to live and work among “the finest lumberjacks in Canada.” As the New Year approaches, Baptiste and the lumberjacks grow more and more homesick. Resolved to see their families again before the stroke of midnight, the crew board a magical canoe that lifts them into the air, across villages, and closer to home.

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Overview

On New Year’s eve, 1847, eleven-year-old Baptiste finds himself far from his friends and family and his home in La Beauce. He has come to the woods of the Ottawa Valley to live and work among “the finest lumberjacks in Canada.” As the New Year approaches, Baptiste and the lumberjacks grow more and more homesick. Resolved to see their families again before the stroke of midnight, the crew board a magical canoe that lifts them into the air, across villages, and closer to home.

This beautiful retelling of the Quebecois folktale reunites Roch Carrier with illustrator Sheldon Cohen and translator Sheila Fischman. (The Hockey Sweater, The Basketball Player, The Longest Home Run), and brings this beloved story to life.

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Editorial Reviews

Children's Literature
Eleven-year-old Baptiste is far from home on this cold New Year's Eve in 1846. Life in the Canadian logging camp is difficult. The lumberjacks live together in a cabin made of tree trunks chinked with moss to keep out wintry air. Baptiste works hard to support his poor family. At night he sobs while the others snore on their beds of spruce boughs. Some evenings the men play instruments to chase away their own blues. On this night, though, when the moon is "high and round and beautiful like an orange" seven men traipse outside with Baptiste not far behind. The eldest, Tom Caribou, reaches under a tree and pulls out a flying canoe, the "Chasse-galerie." With the order to "Sit yourselves in your places," and "Hang on tight!" a grand adventure into the never-ending night begins. The voyageurs are pulled up into a lake of stars only to drop earthward at times to visit with family and friends. This imaginative classic from Quebec features a boy who learns what all lumberjacks seem to know: all one has to do to go home is think about loved ones and "keep those paddles moving!" Were the magic words spoken by the leader, "Acabree, acabra, acabram, Canoe, take us over the mountains!" a pact with the Devil? Perhaps, but it was surely a fine way to keep warm in a drafty logging cabin deep in the Canadian woods so far from home. Inside the paper cover is a delightful color poster. 2004, Tundra Books, Ages all.
—Francine Thomas
School Library Journal
Gr 3-6-This Quebecois folktale has all the charm, humor, and characteristic spark of Roch Carrier's The Hockey Sweater (1984), The Boxing Champion (1991), and The Basketball Player (1996, all Tundra). "So you don't think that a birch bark canoe can fly?" With this challenge, this adventure begins. On New Year's Eve in 1846, 11-year-old Baptiste is working in an isolated logging camp in the dead of a frigid Canadian winter alongside several lumberjacks. They find themselves overcome with homesickness, and climb aboard a flying canoe that will transport them home for the holiday. Readers are instantly drawn into a past world, when "rivers were the roads." The author's unique slant on historical detail rings loud and clear, and the unusual action will make this book appealing to a broad audience. Fischman's translation retains the flavor of the original. Drawn in pencil, and colored digitally, the pictures are a charming cross between a folk-art and a cartoon style. There is considerable text to read through, but it is thoughtfully broken up and enhanced by the poster-style illustrations. Vocabulary is challenging, and students will need assistance with pronunciation of some of the French geography and terminology. Carrier's works seem to be "flying canoes" in themselves, transporting readers back in time to colorful historical settings and wonderful childhood perspectives. This is a book that will never become dated-a real keeper.-Corrina Austin, Locke's Public School, St. Thomas, Ontario, Canada Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780887766367
  • Publisher: Tundra
  • Publication date: 11/9/2004
  • Pages: 24
  • Sales rank: 1,327,778
  • Age range: 8 - 12 Years
  • Product dimensions: 8.81 (w) x 11.30 (h) x 0.41 (d)

Meet the Author

Roch Carrier is Canada’s National Librarian and the beloved author of many Canadian classics for both adults and children. In 1968 he published his hugely successful novel, La Guerre, Yes Sir!. He has written many novels, short stories, plays, film and television scripts, essays, travel books, and poetry. Several of his works have become classics and are used in schools and universities around the world. His much-loved children's story, The Hockey Sweater, remains a timeless favorite. In 1991, Roch Carrier was awarded the Stephen Leacock Award for Humour for Prayers of a Very Wise Child. Among his many other awards and honors, Mr. Carrier is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada, an Officer of the Order of Canada, and the holder of many honorary doctorates. All this from the boy who grew up in a village with no library and no books. Now the village has a brand new library – the Roch Carrier Library.

Sheldon Cohen has had an impressive career in illustration, animation, film directing, and painting. His films include Pies (1983), which won the Blue Ribbon at the American Film Festival, and The Sweater (1980), which won fifteen international awards. The Sweater’s success with a book version of the film and a sequel, the latter won the Governor General’s Award for Children’s Illustration. The Snow Cat, an animated film based on a children’s book by the late Dayal Kaur Khalsa, was released in 1998. In addition to his work in film, Sheldon Cohen is an accomplished and highly regarded painter and a sought-after lecturer and teacher. He lives in Montreal.

Sheila Fischman has translated more than 100 Quebec novels. She is a three-time winner of the Governor General’s Award for Translation and was twice awarded the Félix-Antoine Savard Award (Columbia University). She has translated novels from French to English by Michel Tremblay, Jacques Poulin, Anne Hébert, François Gravel, and of course, Roch Carrier. She has honorary doctorates from the University of Waterloo and from the University of Ottawa. Sheila Fischman is a member of the Order of Canada. She lives in Montreal.

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