Badger History Bulletin - Review
Traders In Time
By Janie Lynn Panagopoulos. (Spring Lake, Michigan: River Road Publications 1993. Pp. 200. Illustrations. ISBN 0-938682-24-5, hardcover, $13.95 or ISBN 0-93862-27-x, $6.95, paperback.);
Linking Fact and Fiction in the Fur Trade: A Teaching Guide for Traders in Time
By Janie Lynn Panagopoulos. By Jean Shafer, Ph.D. (Spring Lake, Michigan: River Road Publications 1993. Pp. 32. ISBN 0-938682-25-3, $8.95, paperbound.)
Originally published in BHB Volume 1, Number 2
Traders in Time is a wonderful blending of history and fiction for fourth graders. Janie Lynn Panagopoulos does an amazing job with time travel, a concept that fascinates nine- and ten-year olds. She uses it both as a "grabber" and as an effective device to convey what it mush have been like to be a fur trader in the 1700's. When reading the book, students not only learn how to row a canoe, they also feel it in their knees and their hands as they row hour after hour with Chris and Nick, the fictional boys transported back in time.
The relationship between brothers becomes another technique that Panagopoulos employs successfully. Fourth graders can identify with the ambivalent feelings that Chris and Nick have about each other. But, as with siblings that care for each other, Nick is very worried when his big brother disappears. With the help of Maggie LaFramboise and her assistant, LeClaire, fur traders, Nick does all he can to save Chris. The 10- to 13-page chapters are reasonable in length for fourth graders, and the print is a good size--it will not intimidate students.
Jean Shafer has written the accompanying teaching guide that is well designed to make using Traders in Time much easier for the busy teacher. She presents historical background to help place the events in the novel in perspective, and she includes suggestions about incorporating literature as an approach to learning history. For structuring lessons, she has divided her suggestions into sections to use before, during and after the reading and has selected activities for each division. She also provides worksheet-type pages to extend the novel, including a story map to be used throughout, a map that indicates the boys' route, material to familiarize readers with French terminology and a worksheet to reinforce students' knowledge of Great Lakes Indians.
Even though Traders in Time is set in Michigan, it could be used successfully in Wisconsin classrooms. All the concepts and ideas apply to the Wisconsin fourth-grade social studies curriculum. Traders in Time, therefore, makes a welcome addition to any fourth-grade classroom.
Fourth grade, Lincoln School