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Trouble at Fort Lapointe (American Girl History Mysteries) Paperback – September 1, 2000
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From School Library Journal
Grade 4-6-Suzanne Choudoir has lived all of her 12 years with her mother's Ojibwe people in what is now northern Wisconsin. They summer on La Pointe Island on Lake Superior in a large camp and winter on the mainland in small family groups. Suzanne's father is a voyageur, a white man hired by the French fur-trading companies to collect the furs trapped during the winter and bring them back to Montreal. This year, from the moment Suzanne's family sets out for La Pointe there is trouble, culminating in her father being accused of stealing. Only Suzanne believes in his innocence, and in a series of daring acts and deductions that seem improbable if not impossible, she clears his name, enabling him to buy out his contract and stay with his family year-round. The "Looking Back: 1732" section is filled with facts, small full-color photos, and a map. However, the mystery just isn't very interesting or suspenseful and the historical part lacks a sense of authenticity. Steer young readers to more informative books about the Colonial period and more exciting mysteries, both of which will prove ultimately more satisfying.
Carrie Schadle, Beginning with Children School, New York City
Copyright 2000 Reed Business Information, Inc.
Gr. 4-8. Twelve-year-old Suzette, her Ojibwe mother, and her French voyageur father live on the coast of Lake Superior near the fur trading post at Fort La Pointe. Papa has entered a fur competition and, if he wins, he will be able to spend the entire year with his family instead of wintering in Montreal with the voyageurs. Unfortunately, someone is conspiring against Papa: a bale of furs disappears from the trading post and the evidence suggests that Papa is responsible. Suzette investigates and uncovers the identity of the true thief. Ernst has created a well-plotted mystery, sprinkled judiciously with clues, and she does a commendable job of integrating setting and cultural details into the story. Less convincing is Suzette's determined, independent personality, which, although an essential part of the story, seems out of sync with the novel's early-eighteenth-century backdrop. Still, mystery fans and children who liked other books in the History Mysteries series are sure to enjoy this, and probably pick up a little history along the way. Kay Weisman
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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My daughter didn't like this "History Mystery" as well as the others we have read. I think she might have been put off by the fur-trading aspect of it. The idea of men competing to see who can get the most animal skins didn't sit very well with her. On the other hand, that was a fact of life in those days. We can't ignore the past just because some aspects of it conflict with our modern sensibilities. I thought this was one of the more engaging mysteries in the series. Suzette comes across as a bit more aggressive than a girl in her circumstances might be allowed to be, but she is brave and she comes through when the chips are down. This is a good book for young readers, with all the positive aspects I've cited in my reviews of other entries in this series. I recommend it highly to kids and their parents.
The book introduces simple French and Ojibwe vocabulary that is either basic (merci) or relevant to the subject matter (wiigwam), and a glossary with pronunciation guide is included.