Day 5 of 10

Today was an ordinary but lovely Saturday.

I slept in while Jeremy took care of the kids in the morning, then went out to Once Upon a Child to pick up some new-to-us clothes for Leo. In the afternoon we tidied up the house, read some books, went to the park, and the kids played out in the yard. Day 5-7

Day 5-8

Races on the front lawn:

Day 5

Somersaulting contest:

Day 5-3

Day 5-2

James has been into hammering lately. Even hammering rocks into the ground. Hmm, maybe we need to get some more 2x4s and nails . . .

Day 5-4

Day 5-5

The kids call walking along this garden retaining wall walking on “The Giant’s Wiggly Teeth”!

Day 5-6

Hope your weekend has been ordinary and lovely, too!

Day 4 of 10: Leo Love and Balloon Rescuers

My little Leo love. He gets so many red marks on his head throughout the day from bumping against the table, poor dear!

Day 4-5

That’s a fine looking pen grip, little one.

Day 4-4

Day 4-3

Day 4-6

June telling me a dramatic story. (Dramatic stories are the best.)

Day 4-7

Speaking of stories, here’s a fun one for you!

This past summer, Alice received a few helium balloons for her birthday . . . and that reminded Jeremy of something. Back in elementary school, we used to have Balloon Day. My memories of it are rather fuzzy, but I think that each of the children in a grade would get a helium balloon, as well as a postcard on which to write a brief message to the finder of that balloon. The postcard also included the address of the school, and a request to send in a note if you found the balloon. Our elementary school was about an hour outside of Vancouver, BC, and Jeremy remembers that a person found a balloon way out by the Rocky Mountains!

So he was inspired. He attached a note to Alice’s balloons and he and the kids watched them drift away on the breeze.

A few days ago, we received a letter in the mail, saying that a couple here in Kelowna came across Alice’s balloons while out on a walk with their dog. The balloons had popped, but they could see the note attached, and the guy got very determined to retrieve them from the 30 to 40 foot tree in which they were trapped. He threw rocks at them for a good half an hour, and then went back the next morning with a rope and spent over an hour attempting to knock it down! Other people out on their nature walks stopped, observed him for a while, asked him what he was up to . . . and he eventually knocked it out of the tree!

They sent a letter in the mail with the popped balloons and Jeremy’s note, and included a picture of themselves and a few pictures of the tree the balloons were found in.

Isn’t that so fun?

Day 4-2

James, June and Alice drew some pictures today to send to the Balloon Rescuers.

Day 4

Day 3 of 10: June’s Birthday, and Birthday Interview

Junie's Birthday

Junie's Birthday-9

Junie's Birthday-2

Two years ago in Fruitvale, there was a marvellous rainbow on June’s birthday. And today, the clouds were aflame as the sun went down. James and June came rushing to the house shouting, “Mom, look at the sky! It looks like heaven!!!”

Junie's Birthday copy

Junie's Birthday-2 copy

When we were at Value Village the other day, in search of mittens for the winter, June found a ‘princess dress’ and convinced me to purchase it for her. She is thrilled with it, and insisted on wearing it today when her friends came over.

Junie's Birthday-4

Junie's Birthday-5

Junie's Birthday-6

Q: How old are you today, sweetheart?
A: Five!

Q: And what sorts of things can you do now that you’re five?
A: I think I can climb the pine tree, and start my lessons of the maple. And maybe even start reading, and start colouring pictures better! And, so, I’m really excited!
Q: What are you excited about?
A: That’s it’s my birthday. Which is today!

Q: What are we having for dinner tonight on your birthday?
A: Creamy Taco Mac!

Q: What are some things you enjoy doing?
A: Looking out the window. And drawing pictures. I might make paper dolls some time! Those are the things I like, and I like Brave Irene too! Like Brave Irene, can I go to the Duchess?
Q: Where’s the Duchess?
A: I don’t know!


We borrowed this book (Brave Irene by William Steig) from the library a year ago, and June still mentions it from time to time. So when I found it at a book sale recently, I snapped it up! June was thrilled to see it amongst her gifts today.

Q: Tell me a little bit about your sister, Alice.
A: She likes playing with my tea set, even though it’s for special days like holidays and Sundays. She likes playing Child and Mom with me!

Q: Tell me a bit about James.
A: James likes to play games with me, especially chess and Monopoly. He read Brave Irene to me this morning, and those are the things I know about him.

Q: Tell me a bit about Leo.
A: He does a little bit of crawling every day, and he loves to do army-crawling. And he loves to watch us from the window, but he does that only when we’re playing outside!

Q: What do you and I do together?
A: Snuggle together in bed at bedtime, and there’s one thing I know about you that I like – you like Brave Irene!

Q: What are some things that you and dad do together?
A: Oh! Dad reads the {Beatrix Potter} book at bedtime, and a few times does he read, The Man As Big as Your Thumb with Mustaches Seven Miles Long.

Q: What makes you happy?
A: My birthday! And so, today I’m happy!

Q: What is something scary?
A: When James pretends to be a monster in the dark! Well, I don’t know if it’s a real monster or if it’s James, and I think it’s a real monster, but then it’s just James!
James: Sometimes June runs away and screams and she’s so frightened, and then I call after her and say, “June” and then she gingerly comes back.

Q: What are you really good at?
A: Playing chess! And climbing the cherry tree. Alice is great at starting to climb the cherry tree! And I’m starting to climb the pine tree and the maple tree! And I’m starting to jump from the cherry tree! What if I was at the tippy-top of the maple tree and I jumped from there?

Q: What do you want to do for a job when you grow up?
A: A monk.
Q: Well, you have to be a boy to be a monk.
A: Okay, then, well, a nun.

Q: What is your favourite song?
A: O Jesus Thou the Beauty Art.

Q: What stories do you enjoy hearing about?
A: The Man as Big as Your Thumb with Mustaches Seven Miles Long! And The Maggie B. And Brave Irene. Those are my three best stories in the world!!!
Q: And why do you like those stories?
A: Because they’re so fun and so interesting!

Q: What is something new you’d like to try?
A: I’d like to try on that Christmas dress that you got me!

Q: What do you think about before you fall asleep?
A: Mary. Because I have that Mary picture!
Q: What do you love about God?
A: That He made all of us, and that He made the world!

Junie's Birthday-7

Day 2 of 10

Alice’s imagination has been hard at work lately. She loves to play “mother & daughter” with June; she has some imaginary friends she plays with “at the campsite”; she loves to pretend go to school; and she loves acting out little stories with her animals.

Nov 2018-23

Nov 2018-24

We returned home from an appointment this afternoon with a carefully chosen sticker. (Why are they always from TV shows? I’d love to see a doctor’s office giving out stickers of robins and squirrels instead of My Little Pony.)

Nov 2018-25

Enjoying some time outside…

Nov 2

Some friends came over on the holiday Monday and one of their kids scampered up the maple tree till he was nearly as high as our roof! James was very impressed, and has been working on his maple tree climbing skills ever since.

Also, it’s 3 degrees outside and somehow coats/sweaters are still optional to him. Crazy guy!

Nov 3

Nov 1

Day 1 of 10

Thought I’d try posting some photos of regular life for the next bunch of days!

Big news around his is that Leo started crawling yesterday, and has been getting into everything lately! He loves to pull himself up on the living room coffee table, barstools, chairs, shelves, etc.

Nov 2018

Nov 2018-7

Nov 2018-6

Nov 2018-3

Nov 2018-5

“If only I could reach that tempting basket!!!”

Nov 2018-4

He has been acting like a beaver and leaving teeth marks on the table.

Nov 2018-9

Catching sight of James coming in from outside…

Nov 2018-10

Nov 2018-11

Nov 2018-12

“Hello, there! May I gnaw on your cheek in greeting, dear elder brother whom I greatly esteem? Thank you kindly!”

Nov 2018-13

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Nov 2018-16

How Life is Different Now that We’re Catholic

We went home for Thanksgiving a few weeks ago, and during our stay I was telling my sister about Leo’s newfound fondness for making a joyful noise: “Father Louie came over to bless our home, and while we were eating dinner afterwards, Leo was cheerfully hollering at the top of his lungs! Jeremy and I both looked at each other, laughed, and said, ‘Hmm, I think taking him to Mass is going to get a lot more interesting in the coming months!'”

‘Bless our home.’ It’s still a little surprising when we bring up Catholic practices with our family, and my sister gently asked me later if it’s been strange to incorporate Catholic practices into our day-to-day life. And it has been, at times, because they’re acquired practices, rather than ones we’ve grown up with. I’ve been thinking a lot about those day-to-day ways in which our lives are different now that we’re Catholic, and thought I’d share a few of them here.

1. We take ALL our children to church with us.
Catholic Churches usually don’t have nurseries, so we take all our children to church with us. Leo is eight months old right now, and some Sundays he’ll nurse and fall asleep during the sermon (while I silently cheer, “YESSSSS!”), while other Sundays he’s more interested in babbling, squirming and blowing raspberries – loudly! He hasn’t tried out his joyful holler in church yet, but I’m sure that day’s coming soon!

It took a while for me to get used to taking our little ones to church. Alice was a year old when we first took her along with us, and she was used to her hour of play time in the CanRef nursery on Sunday mornings; being snuggled/locked up in my arms wasn’t exactly her cup of tea! But no matter how frazzled I felt after church, without fail someone would comment, “It is so nice to see your family here!” or “Your children are so well behaved!” (haha!) or “What a beautiful family you have.” That encouragement was so refreshing!

Over time I’ve grown to appreciate having all our children with us, because each one of them is able to spend time in the presence of Jesus – and what can be better for little souls than that?

2. We receive Christ in the Eucharist.
One of the books I read with James last year was a little treasure called The King of the Golden City by Mother Mary Loyola – it’s sort of a Catholic Pilgrim’s Progress. The king of the Golden City (Jesus) meets a little girl in the woods and after they get to know one another, he promises to pay her a visit in her home. Delecta, delighted that a king would visit her small abode, cleans her home and has lovely flowers waiting for him, and the pair have a delightful visit together.

This lovely little scene is a picture of Christ in the Eucharist:
– Delecta cleaning her home is her going to Confession and having her sins forgiven
– the lovely flowers are acts of love and service Delecta has performed
– the King visiting is Delecta receiving Holy Communion
– and the delightful visit is the time of prayer after Holy Communion

This picture has been such a helpful way for me to think of Holy Communion! Often when I receive Jesus in the Eucharist, I’ll think, “Is there something special to thank Jesus for today? Do I have a particular request of Him for the week ahead? Is there someone whose circumstances are weighing on my mind, whom I’d like to ask Him to take special care of?” Sometimes it’s just little prayers: “Jesus, I don’t know what to do – into Thy hands!” or “Lord, have mercy” or, frequently, “Thee I adore.”

Thee I adore. I do find the Eucharist to be a marvellous opportunity for contemplating the perfections of our Lord, particularly His humility. Jesus didn’t consider equality with God something to be grasped, but willingly became man. And He willingly becomes bread for us, too, to feed our souls which hunger for His grace. Who ever heard of a King who loved His people so much that He would even become bread for them??

3. We don’t eat peppermints in church anymore.
As Catholics we believe the beautiful doctrine of transubstantiation; that the bread really, truly becomes Jesus Christ in the Mass. And because we believe that, we’re careful to show proper respect to our Saviour when we receive Him in the Eucharist. Two ways in which we do that as Catholics are to either bow or kneel before receiving the Eucharist, and to fast from food and drink (besides water) for an hour before receiving the Eucharist. That means no last-minute breakfast on the drive to church, and no peppermints during the sermon, either!

4. Our children will also receive communion.
Instead of waiting till they do public profession of faith at 18, the Catholic Church allows children to receive the Eucharist. Children who are 7 – 8 years old are at the age of reason and can understand the basic tenets of the faith, and are able to receive the sacrament with great respect. James will, the Lord willing, receive First Holy Communion at the end of this school year and he is thrilled!

5. We go to Adoration
We have an adoration chapel at our church – that is, a small chapel where the Blessed Sacrament (a communion wafer which has become the body, blood, soul and divinity of Christ) is exposed (on display) for adoration. Basically, it’s a quiet spot where you can spend time in the presence of Christ in prayer.

Ours is a perpetual adoration chapel, meaning it is open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. The idea is that there is always a person there adoring Christ, and people sign up for one-hour time slots. So if you go to the adoration chapel at noon, or at dinner time, or even at 3am, you’ll find someone there. Jeremy and I each have signed up for one hour a week; he goes Thursday mornings at 6am, I go Friday evenings at 10pm. It’s not always convenient (lately Leo’s been waking up when I should be leaving), but it is always spiritually refreshing.


Woodcut of an Adoration chapel (from St. Leo the Great Catholic Church website).

6. We live in Kelowna. 
Back in our Reformed days, our choices of where to live were limited by the small number of CanRef churches in Canada (there are about fifty, and none in Kelowna). But there are Catholic Churches all over the country, from westerly Vancouver Island to lovely Prince Edward Island and everywhere in between. In Kelowna alone there are seven Catholic churches! Options abound.

7. The joy of living liturgically.
Have you noticed that new ‘awareness’ days are cropping up all the time? “Today is Pink Shirt Day, and we’re going to learn about bullying in school, and tomorrow is Worker Safety Day. Hurrah!” It’s natural and good to celebrate, and to have special days of feasting and rejoicing, but in our day and age those ‘special’ days are often wimpy and disconnected from anything meaningful.

That’s why I love the liturgical year! No more Pink Shirt Days – let’s celebrate something robust and meaningful instead! As Catholics we have many, many feast days to celebrate throughout the year. We celebrate the mystery of Christ, His birth (Christmas), His resurrection (every Sunday), His Ascension, Pentecost and the founding of the Church, and His second coming (Christ the King Sunday, which is coming up soon!). We also honour Jesus’s mother on special days like the feast of the Assumption and the feast of the Immaculate Conception. And we remember the lives of the saints as well.

In our family, Leo’s the only one who was named after a saint. The rest of us chose a patron saint because we admire them, or share their interests, or because we share a name. We like to have ice cream for dessert on their feast days.

  • Jeremy has yet to choose a patron saint
  • My patron saint is St. Catherine of Siena (feast day April 30). St. Catherine tended the sick and dying, had mystical visions, and was intensely devoted to prayer and the Eucharist. She is the patron saint of nurses!
  • James’s patron saint is St. George (feast day April 23), a Roman soldier who, according to legend, slew a dragon. He was known for his valour and selflessness, and was martyred by the emperor Diocletian for speaking out against pagan gods.
  • June’s patron saint is St. Margaret of Scotland (feast day November 16). St. Margaret, an English princess, married the king of Scotland and offered hospitality to anyone who needed it, especially to the poor. We named June after June Carter Cash (Johnny Cash’s wife), who was known for her hospitality, so St. Margaret seemed like a fitting substitution!
  • Alice’s patron saint is St. Genevieve (feast day December 3). St. Genevieve spent her life caring for others, convinced the king to release prisoners, worked miracles, and saved the city of Paris from the Huns by her prayers.
  • Leo’s patron saint is Pope St. Leo the Great (feast day November 10), who defended the church against heresy.

All these special days fit into the bigger picture of the liturgical seasons of the year: Ordinary Time, Advent, Christmas, Lent and Easter. If you’ve ever wondered how those seasons fit together in the course of the year, here’s a little visual for you (from

Liturgical Calendar 1

We are currently in the season of Ordinary Time, and Advent is just around the corner!

8. We contemplate the lives of the saints.
This was one part of Catholic life that just baffled me as a Protestant: Why do the Catholics care so much about saints??? They are forever talking about them! And it’s true, Catholics do dearly love their saints. And as to why, I think one of the many reasons is that the saints are such beautiful examples for us to follow; they show us how unique individuals in various times and places live out their lives for God.

James and I are currently reading about St. Catherine of Siena in a book called In God’s Garden by Amy Steedman. When St. Catherine was six years old she saw a vision in which the Christ Child, held in Mary’s arms, reached toward her. “As Catherine grew older she never forgot the vision she had seen, or how the hand of the Christ Child had been stretched out to bless her. And it made her think often of how she could best please Him, so that someday He might smile on her again.” Isn’t that a beautiful picture? Imagine having an entire gallery of beautiful pictures like that in your mind to draw on in times of trial; what a blessing!

A little side-note: As a Canadian Reformed woman, I didn’t lend much credence to modern-day manifestations of the Holy Spirit. Our church taught that many of the gifts of the Holy Spirit had stopped after the time of the early church. But reading about the lives of the saints tells a different story. St. Catherine had visions of Christ, healed men and women who had the plague, survived on hardly anything more than the Eucharist, could smell the stench of sin on people, multiplied bread and wine to feed the poor, and was often was in ecstasy after receiving communion. Quite an eye-opener!

9. We are blessed with specific spiritual direction, both in person and via books.
There is something about examining your conscience on a regular basis, and telling your priest all the sins you’ve committed in the last few weeks that makes you much more aware of your sins and weaknesses. And that’s a great thing! All the more reason to cling to the cross! (If you’re interested in seeing what specific questions a Catholic asks herself, check out this PDF.)  Many priests will offer a few words of specific direction after confession, ways in which to fight against particular sins and cultivate virtue instead. What an encouragement!

I also find Catholic writing to be very insightful with regards to both spiritual growth and our moral condition. For example, I’m currently reading a book called The Hidden Power of Kindness by Father Lovasik. I began reading the book thinking, Hmm, how much can a person really say about kindness? Why is this book 250 pages long? But, oh my! It’s insightful – painfully so. Take this example:

“As a rule, selfishness is disguised so that your neighbour alone is able to recognize it. If you want to know whether you are selfish, ask the people around you. Only they can tell you whether you are inconsiderate, exacting, ambitious, or eager to have your own way. Only they can tell you whether selfishness makes you withdraw from people, whether you present a sour face to those around you, and whether you rarely utter a kind word to anyone.”
The Hidden Power of Kindness by Father Lawrence G. Lovasik

Gulp! So much food for thought there. But in addition to pointing out the particular problems we struggle with, Father Lovasik gives guidance on how to grow:

Sacrifice is difficult. But you will develop strength in sacrifice if you are fully resolved to refuse God nothing, if you cheerfully accept disappointments and crosses, if you mortify your passions, if you thank God for the crosses He sends you, and if you pray for a spirit of sacrifice.
The Hidden Power of Kindness by Father Lawrence G. Lovasik

10. We have icons, crucifixes, rosaries and holy water in our home.   
We have a little oratory in our living room, that is, a little place of prayer. There are candles, as well as a crucifix, several icons, rosaries and a Bible, and some holy water. This little nook is available for prayer at any time. What we usually do as a family is kneel together on Saturday evenings and pray a decade of the rosary together.

Maybe you’ve seen scenes in movies with people praying while holding a string of beads. That string of beads is called a rosary, and it is made up of five sections with ten beads (called a decade) in each section. To ‘pray a decade of the rosary’ you pray ten Hail Mary’s. When I first encountered the rosary I found it a little strange to repeat prayers. I thought, Why pray ten prayers instead of just one? But the rosary is meant to be a contemplative prayer in which you meditate on the life of Christ while you pray. So, yes, you’re repeating your prayers, but that’s meant to help you contemplate more deeply the mysteries of Christ.

To be honest, I’m still getting used to the icons (I’m not really used to the style), but I love looking at the crucifix. I find it fascinating that while I’m learning the physical ways of showing devotion to God, they come very naturally to our children. James, June and Alice love to kneel for prayer, to see the candles on our little oratory lit, to hold their rosaries while we pray, and to kiss the feet of Jesus on the crucifix.

When Father Louie came to bless our home, he also blessed a large quantity of water for us. We use this when we bless our children before bed. We dip our finger in the holy water and use this to make a cross on our children’s foreheads.

11. Our children are growing up Catholic 
Speaking of children, our kids are growing up Catholic, and there wonderful things about Catholicism that appeal to each of them. The other day Jeremy was explaining to James that Latin is the historical language of the Church, and that the devil therefore hates Latin. James, ever fond of war strategies against the evil one, was immediately interested, and insisted on praying his Hail Mary’s in Latin when we said the rosary together that evening!

June was Mary for Halloween; to be more specific, she was Our Lady, Mary, the Queen of Heaven. At the front of the church we attend is a large painting of Mary as she’s described in Revelation 12: “a woman clothed with the sun, with the moon under her feet, and on her head a crown of twelve stars.” June loves seeing Mary in all her queenly glory, and adores her varied splendid titles: Queen of Angels, House of Gold, Queen of all Saints, Queen of Peace. Wearing a fancy, sparkling dress and a crown upon her head was the fulfillment of all her Halloween dreams.


This Halloween we had Leo the Cat, Alice the Ladybug, James the Bull, and June, the Queen of Heaven!

12. We don’t use contraception
I’m the oldest of seven children, and can still recall being on holidays and having a stranger count all us children, and then turn to my parents and say, “You must be Catholic!” I didn’t understand the connection at the time: that Catholics often have large families because they don’t use contraception!

This counter-cultural teaching of the Church was one of the reasons I was first drawn to Catholicism. I read a surprising fact: “Throughout the history of Christianity the practice of contraception was uniformly condemned by every single denomination until the early 1920’s” and thought – Hmm, why am I okay with this? Isn’t it a peculiar thing that nearly every denomination has come to tolerate, or even embrace, contraception? Is there a chance that the Sexual Revolution has had a profound effect even on the way Christians think about marriage and children? For me, the belief that separating sex and children is disordered was one of the first things about Catholicism that made instinctual sense, so giving up contraception when we joined the Church was relatively painless.

13. I miss some things from my CanRef days.
This past summer I’ve been mourning the loss of a few things our former church was really good at. I miss going to church and recognizing nearly everyone, and noticing the handful of visitors. I miss visiting with other families over lunch on Sunday, and I miss the close friendships I had. I also miss the psalm singing. We sing a few stanzas of Psalm 25 before we have breakfast most mornings, and we memorize various psalms as poetry, too, but it still grieves me that our children will not have the blessing of singing the Genevan Psalms regularly at church. They are a rich and beautiful treasure!

Request: If anyone knows of a CD of someone singing the Genevan Psalms (preferably one person, rather than a whole congregation, so we can actually understand the words), please let me know about it by email, or in the comments below!

That being said, I am also delighted to be part of a Church whose musical roots are deep and beautiful. Gregorian chant has a gravity and reverence to it that makes it particularly suited to singing in church. This is also something we are working to include in our homeschool so we can learn a little bit at a time, as it’s all a bit overwhelming at first!

* * * * *

I hope this gives you a little window into our day-to-day practices as Catholics. When I reflect on how my life has changed over the past year and half, the biggest change would be in prayer… a richer, fuller, more meaningful prayer life – that is, being drawn closer and closer to Jesus Christ. I hope that’s apparent in what I’ve written. Whether it is holy water (a reminder of our baptism, and the washing away of our sins), or the liturgical year (remembering the life, death and resurrection of our Lord), or Confession (coming to Jesus for healing from our sins), or no contraception (fully giving ourselves to our spouse, the way that God intended), or going to Adoration (spending time before the Blessed Sacrament in prayer) – they all point to Him, our Lord and Saviour.

Man from St. Malo: The Story of Jacques Cartier by Robert D. Ferguson (Great Stories of Canada #20)

Title: Man from St. Malo: The Story of Jacques Cartier by Robert D. Ferguson
Series: Great Stories of Canada #20
Publisher: Macmillan, 1959
Availability: Out of print, but available used online via Book Finder

Time Period: 1506 – 1557
Setting: St. Malo, France and present-day Newfoundland, Quebec
Grade Level: Years 2-5
Verdict: Very good
Rating: ★★★★


1. What is the story about?
The Man from St. Malo tells the story of Jacques Cartier attempting to find the North-West Passage and instead finding the St. Lawrence River. The book describes his three voyages and his failed attempt to set up a colony in present-day Quebec.

2. Is it written by a single author with a passion for his/her subject?

3. Does it have ideas, not just facts?
Yes. Some of those ideas include:

– the reasons why European kings sent explorers to the New World
The King of France saw Spanish ships returning heavily laden with treasure and thought an exploration to the more northerly regions of the New World would make a good investment. “Make it clear in the royal commission he is given that he much search for certain islands and countries where he might find gold and other riches.” Cartier thought he’d discovered diamonds but had in fact found quartz crystal. “Soon the expression ‘Diamonds from Canada’ was being used to describe anything that was flashy but of no value.”

– The extinction of species
On his first voyage, Cartier sailed past islands teeming with thousands of large birds called Great Auks which, because of their tiny wings, could not fly. As a result, they were extremely easy to capture. “One story tells of a ship’s crew placing a gang-plank from ship to shore so they could herd hundreds of unresisting birds on board and there slaughter them.” In later years millions of Great Auks were killed for food, feathers and oil, and by 1850 the species was extinct.

– The tenuous relationship between the First Nations people and the explorers
The relationship between Cartier and the First Nations people started off on a friendly footing, but devolved over time when Cartier was not able to keep his promises. For example, he took a group of First Nations people back to France with him and promised to return them the following year, but then had to wait five years for his next commission. During those years, most of the First Nations people died in France, and when he returned to Canada he lied and said they’d married French women and settled there.

4. Is it well written?
It’s a pretty engaging account, and it includes quotations from Cartier’s own logbook.

5. Is it inspiring?
Sort of. Cartier’s explorations were very interesting and showed his steady, methodical nature and his capable leadership. But his colony failed, and his treatment of the First Nations people wasn’t that honourable.
What was very inspiring was a little section in the last chapter that described Cartier’s interactions with Roberval, the man King Louis of France had appointed as leader of the colony in New France. Roberval, a sketchy character if ever there was one, marooned his niece, Marguerite, her nurse, and the man Marguerite was in love with, on a small island off the coast of Canada. She survived in the wild for over two years with few supplies before being picked up by Breton fishermen! This book made me want to read more about Marguerite Roberval and her experiences!

6. For what age group would this book be a good fit?
Probably Year 2-5.

– usually the Great Stories of Canada have excellent maps. This map is little more than an outline sketch.