Jackie, like most little boys, hated lumpy porridge and thrived on peanut butter sandwiches. He was also very keen on his mother’s freshly baked coffee bread or ‘pulla’ as it was called in his home. That might have been the explanation for his fat cheeks and dimples. The blonde hair and blue eyes he inherited from his parents, but not the bowl-haircut – that was his father’s creation alone.
Before you can get started on this book, you ought to know something about Jackie’s family and most important, when and where Jackie’s story took place. Jackie’s mom and dad arrived in Canada from Finland back in 1923 with their one-year-old baby boy, Timo. Sadly, Timo became seriously ill and died at the age of nine, the same year when Jackie was born. The parents had settled in Niagara Falls and besides Jackie, had raised three other children. Eric was the eldest at fourteen, Liisa at twelve and Armas (Armie for short) was ten years old. Jackie, at the time when our story begins, was five going on six.
The year was 1938 and far across the sea in England important events were taking place that would fire up Jackie’s imagination as you will soon find out.
One last thing. Jackie is actually me. Yes, this is my story and all of these adventures really did happen. I hope you enjoy finding out more about how great being a kid in Niagara was in the 1930s and early 1940s. You will probably notice a lot of differences between then and now. There are a few questions for you to answer on this and more at back of the book, along with a number of maps that show you exactly where Jackie’s adventures took place. If you like, you can follow Jackie (and his friends) along these routes. You could simply use your finger to trace the path, or very lightly use a pencil to mark out Jackie’s journey.