House Calls cover

HOUSE CALLS, The true story of a pioneer doctor.
This book now out of print, but a paperback edition will soon be reissued by Red Diamond Books.

Originally published by Groundwood, Fall 2001.
Historical Fiction. Illustrator: Mary Jane Gerber.
ISBN: 0-88899-446-X

Review Excerpts


…the illustrations provide just the right complement to the story. The book includes sidebars where we learn of diseases and medical practices of the time. The author is the great-great granddaughter of this heroic man and she writes a loving portrait of him and his family. Her book will provide young readers with an interesting, colourful, and sometimes disturbing, view of what life was really like for the early pioneers.

C. M. MAGAZINE – Canadian Review of Materials

It’s a lot of valuable, even indispensable, content …in the way of the best information books, reinforces written history with a tangible connection to the present.


This fact-based story includes fictionalized dialogue and feelings, which create a four-chapter biography that reads like fiction. Appropriately placed sidebars give more detailed information about 19th Century Medicine. The narration flows easily.

Ainslie signing House Calls

LIBRARY TALK, May/June 2002

There are many sidebars that add to the facts in the story, which tell of medicinal plants, illnesses, midwives, and childbirth. This one is definitely a welcome addition to the school library collection. Recommended.

CANADIAN LITERATURE, a quarterly of criticism and review, UBC

…. the story is warmly and lovingly told through the memories of a child, memories of someone she loved, admired and respected. It is more an illustrated book than a picture book, having a lot of text and much historical detail, although Manson keeps that detail interesting and pertinent. Mary Jane Gerber’s brown and white illustrations have a “folk art” look to them, entirely appropriate for the story. …aimed at six-to ten-year old readers and is a wonderful way to introduce children to an intimate portrait of a small piece of Canadian history that was repeated, with variations, again and again in pioneer communities throughout our country.


Nominated for:

2002 Silver Birch Non-Fiction Award, HOUSE CALLS
2004 Hackmatack Children’s Choice Award Nominee in the Atlantic Provinces