March 13, 2009

Heart of a Shepherd by Rosanne Perry

Posted in Uncategorized at 3:14 am by suebe2

Heart of a Sherpherd shepherd

by Rosanne Perry

Random House


This week I’m going to focus on boy books.  It seems to be a lot harder to get boys to read than girls but I also have to admit — I like boy books a lot.  I like action.  I like humor.

While this book has both, it doesn’t start with action and that may be why it took a little while to hook me.  It starts with Brother playing chess with his grandfather.  Encourage your boy reader to keep going!   Eventually he’ll encounter rattlers, wild fire and even a miracle. 

Brother does his best to be a real rancher.  After all, his whole family is counting on him.  While his brothers are away at school and training, his father is shipped off to Iraq.  This leaves just Brother, his aging grandparents, and Ernesto, their shepherd to mind the sheep, the cattle, the horses and the whole ranch.  Yet no matter how hard he tries, Brother gets the feeling he is letting people down. Grandfather encourages him to be his own man, to learn who he is and not worry about being good at the things the others are good at.  Ernesto puts it more simply.  Brother, he says, has the heart of a shepherd.

Perry does a great job of creating a real “boy voice” for Brother.  Everything he thinks is colored by his family’s military background, he and his friends have fights where they pelt each other with flower blossoms, and they aren’t above a really good death scene during this mock combat.

This book also deals very realistically with what happens when a parent, indeed many parents in the same community, goes to war.    But it is also a story about life and death, this country’s rural roots, and a boy’s spiritual journey and Faith.  An excellent book for boys who are trying to grow into their own type of men.  It may not be a must for boys, but I required a handful of tissues at the end.


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