Twelve-year-old Erik never wanted to leave his grandfather’s farm, and the memory of his dead father, in Norway. But in Canada his family can have their own farm, so Erik, his mother, and his older sister Elsa journey to the Canadian west with Rolf, their mother’s new husband. Rolf is a hard man to talk to and even harder to get to know, and it seems that he’s keeping a secret from his new family. Erik helps Rolf break land and build a sod house for their family, and gets to know Rolf’s nephew, Olaf, who also immigrated, as they work together to save Tapper, an injured horse. Tapper gets well enough to be entered in a local horserace and turns out to be a real winner. “Tapper” is the Norwegian word for “brave,” and Erik really must be “tapper” to face all the challenges of his new life and be a winner himself.
Kirkus Reviews – April 1, 2011
“This tale draws its grace from the fine, detailed portrait of immigrants making their way in a new world.”Booklist – April 15, 2011
“Dueck weaves information about prairie settlers in the early 1900s into vivid scenes of trapping, fishing, and working on the farm…Erik’s and Olaf’s personal situations and their ambivalence toward each other are well drawn and subtly contrasted. This Canadian novel dovetails neatly with American stories of pioneer life on the prairies.”2011 OLA Best Bets for Children and Young Adults
“…a richly detailed and engrossing portrait of pioneer prairie life seen through a young boy’s eyes.”