Youth Services Book Review: The Range Eternal

Review of The Range Eternal by Louise Erdrich

The story of a girlhood lived in the glow of a woodstove from one of the country’s most distinguished and beloved authors, now back in print

The warmth you feel from the ethereal illustrations and heart filled story inspired by the author’s memories of her grandparents’ house on the Turtle Mountain Reservation in North Dakota.   Their family stove, ‘The Range Eternal’, was regarded with much affection and much more than a big old stove.   This big blue enamel wood burning stove provides more than heat, it brings comfort, protection and is the heart of the home.  Many hearty soups were made by Mama there, a place where potatoes were cooked to warm cold hands on icy morning walks to school, a place to heat stones to warm cold toes at night during those windy winter months, and keeps the ice monster, Windigo, at bay.  Through the open glass window you can see the dancing flames glow as they light up the wall with pictures of the range of animals:  buffalo, wolf, bear, fox, cranes, herons, and eagles running from horizon to horizon. Their wood stove was a much loved family gathering place.  When electricity was brought to their home, a new stove arrived as well to replace ‘The Range Eternal’, one where you could turn a knob and heat would flow through the coiled burner.   Their old wood stove disappeared from their house but not their hearts.   As time goes on, the memories become more intense and longing for a center of true warmth leads to an antique store and a ‘Range Eternal’.


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