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The Desperate Journey (Kelpies: Classic Kelpies) Paperback – 22 Mar 2012

4.6 out of 5 stars 17 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Paperback: 168 pages
  • Age Range: 8 - 12 years
  • Publisher: Kelpies (22 Mar. 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0863158811
  • ISBN-13: 978-0863158810
  • Product Dimensions: 12.7 x 1.5 x 19.6 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (17 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 195,074 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Product description

Review

'This is a Scottish children's classic set in the 19th century, when a family is evicted during the Highland Clearances. Their journey is full of hardship, courage and adventure. A real must-read.' Wendy McCusker, Waterstone's Guide to Children's Books 'A stirring tale of adventure, hardship and new beginnings.' -- Shelf Life, Summer 2002 'What an action-packed tale!' -- Education Otherwise, June 2002 'Kathleen Fidler's well-paced narrative skilfully conveys the Murray's epic journey and the historical settings are convincingly portrayed. David and Kirsty Murray are spirited and resilient characters who engage the interest and sympathy of the reader.' -- Treasure Islands: A guide to Scottish fiction for young readers aged 10-14, Summer 2003

About the Author

Kathleen Fidler has enthralled generations of readers. She is the author of over eighty books for children, many of which were broadcast on BBC Radio Children's Hour. She died in 1980. The Kathleen Fidler Award helped launch the careers of many talented children's authors in the following two decades.


Customer Reviews

4.6 out of 5 stars
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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
We read this as a class book when I was at Primary School, about P6 I think so 1984/5 ish. It was a popular syllabus book in Scottish primary schools, as it describes three important parts of Scotland's social history: The Highland Clearances (a shameful practice where crofters were evicted and sometimes burned out of their homes by greedy landowners in search of bigger profits), Glasgow's industrial period (squalor and tenements filled with people displaced from their homes) and Emigration to Canada. When I was a kid, it was a captivating story: two central characters near my own age, a vivid description of Glasgow - my home town - as it was in another time, and finally a ripping adventure as the Murrays strive to make a new home in a new land.

I re-read it again last month and the best thing is the story itself holds up well. Kathleen Fidler has an economic touch to her prose; there's detail and imagery and the characters are well-described. The overall story itself is well-paced. After over 50 years since it was first published though, it does have its flaws. The characters don't have a lot of depth - which explains why some reviews attack the gender roles, but you need to remember it's set in the early 1800s. I don't think revisionism was on Fidler's agenda when she wrote it, nor should it be. Though Kate Murray - the mother - is written as a strong character, stubborn even. But the roles of the kids - Davie and Kirsty - are pretty stereotypical - though I'm saying that as an adult and parent now myself.

Overall though, it's a short, enjoyable book. And a welcome nostalgia trip for me.
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Format: Paperback
this is an absolutely amazing tale of a young family in the scottish highlands forced off their land during the highland clearances and the deperate journey they undergo to make a new life for themselves.
first is the struggle to make ends meet in glasgow where a proud father is forced to depend on his children to bring home the money by working long and tiring hours in the cotton mills before begining a long trip to the new colonies in canada.
the new life in canada promises much but they find themselves having to fight for the land once they get there before finally finding peace and happiness in the new land.
this is a read for all ages and i would recommend it for all to read.
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An Turas Eiginneach was originally written as The Desperate Journey by the late Kathleen Fidler (I think a Canadian,) An Turas is a Gaelic translation. The story describes the eviction of a Highland family from their croft in Sutherland about the year 1812.. The family move to Glasgow for a few months then they are offered a passage to Canada. The book describes the transatlantic sea crossing followed by an arduous 700 mile journey across the frozen territory of what is now northern Manitoba. They fight with the rival North West company but eventually they receive a grant of land where they are secure. Throughout the book the teenage son and daughter are the protagonists in the novel.

The Gaelic translation, An Turas Eiginneach is an excellent introduction to Gaelic prose for learners and I recommend it highly.
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Bought this for my class to work on as part of their " Highland Clearances" topic. A topic which has long gone out of fashion. No Kindle version for them, sadly. It is a long story, but it does put across the life of the people iat that time. Didn't know it was based on a true story. Get on the Internet to read about Patrick Sellar and his ghastly crimes.
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Fantastic story, giving Scottish school pupils an insight in to how Scotland once was- history,geography, food and farming, mapwork. Brilliant link to Scotland and the Homecoming this year , our inter-disciplinary learning context!
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My daughter's class were doing this at school and we were asked to get it for her. She really loves the characters and although the story has its sad moments the characters make it great reading. She is reading ahead of what she need to and is thoroughy enjoying the story.
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This is an excellent story based on fact. The Highland Clearances in Scotland caused untold misery. The story of how one family coped and their life, first in Glasgow and then in the wilds of poineer Ameica, is well told and a good read. for nine year olds to adult.
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This is a book for older children but I, as an adult, learnt so much. It is a story about the Clearances in Scotland and the tale of a family's journey first to Orkney and then across the ocean to the Winnipeg area of Canada. I bought the book as I was visiting Canada and I discovered that the story is all based on facts as an area of land in the Red River was purchased by the Earl of Selkirk for Scottish families forced to be emigrants by the Clearances. I assume that their journey is also based on fact as they travelled right up north through Hudson Bay and then south along the river for 29 days before they reached the area where Winnipeg now stands. What an amazing journey!
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