Buffalo Hunt by Cora Taylor is part of the Our Canadian Girl series, featuring girls from across Canada at different points in history. The heroine of this story is Angelique, a Metis girl in 1865. Angelique is excited for the spring buffalo hunt out on the prairie because this time she is old enough to be part of the hunt. The older children get to follow the hunters to find the markers left beside the bodies that identify which hunter made the kill. Angelique will look for her father’s. The meat will be made into to pemmican for themselves and to sell for money for other goods.
The hunt is a chance for other Metis families to come together. Angelique sees her old friend Francois but because he’s a boy he has different responsibilities now. Will he still be the same old Francois with her?
The buffalo hunt is dangerous. Men have been injured or killed in the past. A good hunter has skills as well as a talented horse, like her father’s new horse Michif. Even those not directly involved in the hunt could be in danger, as Angelique finds out for herself.
The Our Canadian Girl series is written for girls but really why wouldn’t a boy like them too? There is danger and adventure in Buffalo Hunt that’s sure to please both. That said girls will be able to relate to Angelique who is ten and just starting to be affected by the differences of the gender roles in her culture. While her friend Francois gets to go off with the older boys, Angelique has to stay behind and help her mother. Still, she is young enough to enjoy some freedom from those feminine responsibilities. Angelique often feels both simultaneously annoyed with and responsible for her little brother Joesph. Then there’s the horse, Michif, that she dearly loves.
The writing is accessible for the age range of the book, 8-12. Something my daughter complains about when she starts reading a book is when she doesn’t know what is going on right away. I know this is something she’ll outgrow as she becomes a better reader, but I think she’d appreciate the short backstory provided before the plot begins. In it we learn who Angelique and her family are, why the hunt is important and how Angelique feels about it. Then the story begins. The sentences are short and straight forward while providing the necessary historical information. The facts of the buffalo hunt are given with accuracy but without gore. Times were different.
At just 85 pages, an engaged reader is sure to tear through Buffalo Hunt quickly and move onto the rest in the series. I personally want to know what other adventures Angelique and the rest of the Canadian girls will have!