Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Reader's Diary #622- Peter Cumming and illustrated by P. John Burden: A Horse Called Farmer

A Horse Called Farmer is based on a true story about a horse from the Magdalen Islands in the Gulf of St. Lawrence in the 1920s. After finding that he'd been sold and relocated to Grosse Île, Farmer made his way across sand dunes and other towns and eventually a swim across a harrowing channel to his original home in L'Île d'Entrée.

Normally I find horse stories as dull as dishwater. Did you see the trailer for the new Secretariat movie? I fell asleep about half way through and it's a 2 minute trailer. Why would A Horse Called Farmer-- not Laserbeams or Psycho-killer, but Farmer--be any different? I wasn't sure Burden's black and white sketches were going to help matters.

But it turns out not to be that bad. It's a bit of an adventure tale, reminiscent of Sheila Burnford's The Incredible Journey and it's quite amazing that a real horse could or would attempt such a feat. Kids will no doubt see it as having a happy ending, though I'm sure adults will question why he was sold in the first place and what ramifications followed his return.

Because this was illustrated by a Prince Edward Islander and published by Ragweed Press, who were originally an Island publisher, this counts as my PEI choice for the 3rd Canadian Book Challenge. To date, I've read from
1. Newfoundland and Labrador (L. M. Falcone, Michael Crummey, Jessica Grant, and Kenneth J. Harvey)
2. Alberta (Robert Heidbreder)
3. The Northwest Territories (Robbie Newton Drummond, Cathy Jewison, Mindy Willett and Sheyenne Jumbo, Val Wake, Cathleen With)
4. Ontario (Kateri Akiwenzie-Damm, Lawrence Hill, Jeff Lemire, Jocelyne Allen, Mariko Tamaki)
5. The Yukon (P.J. Johnson, Dick North, Dirk Wales)
6. British Columbia (Ulli Steltzer, Michael Kenyon, Steven Galloway)
7. Nunavut (Neil Christopher)
8. Nova Scotia (Lesley Choyce, Peter Cumming)
9. Saskatchewan (Anne Szumigalski)
10. Manitoba (Sarah Klassen)
11. New Brunswick (David Seymour)
12. PEI (P. John Burden)

Which now leaves me with 9 days and Quebec to go.

4 comments:

Barbara Bruederlin said...

I am failing so badly on the Canadian book challenge this year! Can I count the flyers that come with the newspapers?

Teena in Toronto said...

Sounds like an interesting book!

Wanda said...

Haven't heard of this story, odd that a horse would do that.

Though I did make it to 13+, my numbers are down from last year and I didn't get to all my planned destinations. It was Quebec that bogged me down so be careful what you choose. ;)

John Mutford said...

Barbara: Slap a ringed binding on them and you've got a deal.

Teena: At least more interesting than I'd first thought.

Wanda: I've got the Quebec book read now actually. I went with another picture book, and I'll have it blogged tonight.