An enjoyable read for both younger and older folks, The Adventures of Buddy Williams series, accompanied by its student study guides, has been at the centre of novel studies in middle and high school classes. Students, teachers and the reading public appear to appreciate the opportunity to journey back to life on the Canadian Prairies in the early fifties, tracking the exploits of Buddy Williams and his cohorts. WinterFree immediately follows the tales chronicled in SummerWild and FallGently, setting the stage for the culmination of the series in SpringRush—the last installment of Buddy’s coming-of-age narrative.
Reeling from the autumn tragedy that changed his life forever at the close of FallGently, Buddy Williams yearns even more for the idyllic life he relished in SummerWild. Although still devastated, Buddy agrees to return to school, only to realize that not much has changed between the eleven year-old and his menacing teacher, Miss Ruby. To make matters worse, one-time ally Mr. “Army” Armitage, the school principal, seems to have run out of sympathy for Buddy’s plight.
Feeling adrift, Buddy sets out to find a better balance, but is instead vexed by one error in judgement after another, the consequences of which threaten both harmony at home and his bond with best friends, Riel and Mokey.
Will faith be salvation? Will Native teenager Joe Starblanket be able to help stop the tailspin into more serious bad behaviour? Might the blizzards of winter bring a lasting chill to Buddy’s once openly-amiable innocence?