Eleanora's Diary: The Journals of a Canadian Pioneer Girl


222 pages
Contains Photos, Illustrations, Maps
ISBN 0-590-74096-2
DDC j971.3'1702'092





Illustrations by Caroline Parry
Reviewed by Joan Buchanan

Joan Buchanan is a writing instructor and storyteller, and the author of
Taking Care of My Cold! and The Nana Rescue.


Caroline Parry took on a mammoth task when she set about integrating
boxes of early- to mid-19th-century letters, journals, and memorabilia
into a book describing the lives of a Canadian pioneer family from
England who settled in Huronia (on the western shore of Lake Simcoe and
the eastern part of Georgian Bay). Although this is a history of a
family and an era, for much of the book Parry focuses on the journals of
Eleanora Hallen, a cheerful, observant girl from a large clerical
family. Interspersed are pertinent drawings, doodles, explanations,
diagrams, advertisements, excerpts from other family members’
journals, and even skipping rhymes, all of which provide layers of

This fascinating additional information is a rich mine for teachers of
Grades 4 to 8, and possibly beyond. Particularly in parts one and two,
Parry uses editorial questions and comments to encourage analytical
thinking. She employs the puzzle allegory throughout—how do the pieces
fit together to give an accurate picture of Eleanora’s life?

Parry’s very thorough line of questioning and direct addresses to the
audience are intended to stimulate and to appeal to students who are
reading by themselves. However, with judicious guidance from a teacher,
readers will get more out of the book and won’t be put off by the
jam-packed detail and lack of white space. Unlike some diary books, this
work is not so much a piece of narrative literature as a well-researched
historical gold mine at a very reasonable price. Highly recommended.


Parry, Caroline., “Eleanora's Diary: The Journals of a Canadian Pioneer Girl,” Canadian Book Review Annual Online, accessed June 21, 2024, https://cbra.library.utoronto.ca/items/show/19211.