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Ginny Russell
Victoria, (B.C.), Beach Holme Publishers,
1993. 120pp, paper, $8.95, ISBN 0-88878-343-4. CIP

Subject Heading:
Native peoples-Canada-Juvenile fiction.

Grades 4-6 / Ages 9-11

Reviewed by Edith Parsons

Volume 22 Number 3
1994 May/June

Fourteen-year-old Dave is spending five days with his grandparents on Mayne Island, one of the Gulf Islands. Amidst the flurry of activities that his grandparents have organized, he becomes increasingly curious about the native people who lived on nearby Village Bay. Through an uncanny stroke of coincidence, he meets a ninety-five-year-old man who actually grew up in the village, and makes friends with one of the local residents whose grandmother was a Saanich Indian

The old man's stories whet Dave's curiosity, and, with his new friend Rick's help, he starts on a voyage of discovery that helps him solve a riddle presented by old Mr. Allen (or Thaa, Wen in Saanich). At the same time, the boys develop a better understanding of the traditional Saanich life-style. Dave also realizes that he can make new friends and becomes much more positive about his family's imminent move to Chicago.

Author Ginny Russell convincingly recreates the west coast and the environment of the Gulf Islands.  Voices on the Bay effectively incorporates interesting factual information about the west coast native peoples. However, her characters are not wholly convincing. Both Dave and Rick seem younger than their fourteen and sixteen years, respectively. While the plot is full of fast-paced adventure, it is also full of coincidences and seems somewhat contrived.

Recommended, with some reservations.

Edith Parsons is Assistant Manager, Information Division, Edmonton Public Library, in Edmonton, Alberta

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