L’Acadie en baratte
Diane Carmel Léger
Bouton d’Or Acadie
(Ages 99 and under)
Nico, a curious and imaginative boy from Quebec, visits his Acadian grandmother in New Brunswick for the first time. Together, they visit historical landmarks and beaches, learn about Acadian culture and literature, hear different varieties of language and taste traditional dishes and local foods. During the weeks they spend touring New Brunswick, PEI and Nova Scotia, Nico, who has frequently been told he moves around too much and makes too much noise, is carefree and engaged in new discoveries, and gives free rein to his energy and creativity.
Baratte is the comical name Nico’s Mémére gives to her camper; it means a butter churn and suits the old camper jalopy that shakes, bumps and rumbles. However, her Westfalia is a unique and magical vehicle, much like the magic schoolbus; over their travels, it is converted into a helicopter, submarine and hot air balloon.
This book combines the qualities of a tourist guide, a history text, a language arts resource and young people’s fiction. It will help Acadian children develop pride in and understanding of their history and identity. Adults will also learn interesting information—I learned that the name Tantramar comes from tintamarre, the fun and noisy celebration that takes place on August 15 each year, because of the raucous honking of geese in the area.
The language level is also appropriate for anglophones who have had a few years of French instruction, perhaps in Grade 4 or 5 French Immersion classes. Its lively narrative, interesting language and fanciful illustrations and characters will fascinate students as they explore Acadian culture.