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Review: Safe as Houses by Eric Walters

safe as houses

I often wonder, when I get a new library book by an author I do not know well, which of my kids can read it.  Miss 13 read this one—a quick skim showed me it was fine for her—but when I asked her if it was alright for her little sister, she was not sure.

So, one tired, rainy evening I settled down to read Safe as Houses, a story of what happened in 1954 when Hurricane Hazel strengthened, rather than dissipated, over Lake Ontario and dropped almost a foot of water over a small town north of Toronto.

Elizabeth had just walked obnoxious sixth grader David and his little sister Suzie over the swollen Humber River, where David had been astonished to see debris clogged against the underside of the bridge. It was her job to babysit them, but she really looked forward to that job ending, even just for the day.  So she was dismayed when the children’s parents called and said they would be home late because of the weather.

Elizabeth started supper, fed her charges, and felt safe.  Safe as houses.  Of course, she would have preferred to be at home, with her mother making the hot chocolate, but someone needed to care for David and Suzie.  There was no telling what David would do without supervision.

The rain continued to pour down, and lightning showed that now the water was going over the bridge, and the street was like a river.  Then the power went out, so they all went to sleep, but when Elizabeth sat up on the couch in the middle of the night, her feet swung into cold water.

The water was rising.  Fast.  And she, Elizabeth, was in charge, with only David to help her….

This page-turner is authentic but not terrifying.  Sensitive Miss 11 has been given permission to read it, but not before bedtime.  She will enjoy the story while learning about history, responsibility, and growing up.

This book forms part of our multi-year, literature-based Canadian History course . This review is linked to Finishing Strong , Trivium Tuesdays and Booknificent Thursdays as well as the Carnival of Homeschooling.

Disclosure: We borrowed this book from our library and I am not compensated for this review.


  1. Susan W says:

    Thanks for sharing at Finishing Strong!

  2. Amy says:

    Wow! That does sound like a really interesting story! Thanks for sharing!

  3. This looks really good, and I’m quite interested in your literature-based Canadian history course. While not Canadian, we like to teach our kids a variety of perspectives on history so I’ll definitely be checking that out! Thanks so much for sharing this at Booknificent Thursday! Hope to see you again soon!

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