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Sophie Sea to Sea

by Norma Charles

Sophie is sad that her family has to move from their Montreal neighbourhood all the way across Canada to their new B.C. home, but like her favourite comic book heroine, Star Girl, she’s ready for the adventure. The year is 1949, the LaGrange family has a new car, and Sophie is curious about the country she will be seeing.

As the family visits relatives across the country, Sophie’s curiosity leads to some funny as well as heart-stopping adventures: from accidentally getting her Ontario cousin’s best dress all muddy, to rescuing her baby brother from a bridge railing over a Manitoba river in full flood, to winning a go-cart derby in Alberta. Along the way the reader gains a sense of the different geographic regions as the family flees the Winnipeg flood of 1949, sees dinosaur bones in the badlands of Alberta, and crosses a precarious mountain bridge in the Rockies. Although she hasn’t actually travelled from sea to sea, Sophie starts school in B.C. just in time to join the class in welcoming Newfoundland into Canada.

Despite the various near-disasters Sophie encounters, this book is a gentle, family story best suited to the younger end of its age range. Caught up in Sophie’s story, readers will painlessly gain an overall impression of Canadian geography west of Montreal. Eastern and northern geography is covered only in the listings of “quick facts” and capsule histories that provide current, though sketchy, information for each of the provinces and territories.