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Laura Secord: A Story of Courage    by Janet Lunn & Maxwell Newhouse order for
Laura Secord
by Janet Lunn
Order:  USA  Can
Tundra, 2012 (2001)
Hardcover, Softcover
* *   Reviewed by Hilary Williamson

Laura Secord is known to most Canadians as the name of a candy store - who knew that she was a real historical figure, and a heroine? This picture book (for ages eight and up) by Janet Lunn, illustrated by Maxwell Newhouse, tells her 'Story of Courage' during the 1812-1814 war between Great Britain and the United States. The book has been reissued in celebration of the 200th anniversary of her brave actions.

Though gentle, shy and soft spoken, Laura was a frontier woman who 'could carry a bucket full of water, with a baby in one arm and at least one child hanging on to her skirt.' She and her husband James lived in Queenston, Upper Canada (now Ontario) with their five children. Their village in the Niagara District was 'in the thick of the war right from the start', and James was seriously wounded in action.

One evening, after American officers demanded she make dinner for them, Laura overheard talk of a plan to 'surprise Lieutenant FitzGibbon in his headquarters on Twelve Mile Creek, near Beaver Dams.' Though it was a twenty mile journey in the heat and in countryside 'teeming with Yankees', Laura was determined to warn FitzGibbon - there was 'not another living soul to do it'.

And she succeeded - 'Laura's brave journey through the wilderness saved the day for the British and their Indian allies.' Hers is a fascinating story, emphasizing that women also played their part in history. And don't miss the Epilogue that tells what happened after the war, and how Laura Secord was eventually honoured for her courage.

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