Monday, April 11

Some Kind of Courage

Some Kind of Courage
Dan Gemeinhart

My rating: ★★★½

ISBN: 978-0545665773
Publisher: Scholastic
Date of publication: January 26, 2016
Age: Grades 4 - 8
Genre: Historical Fiction

Themes: horses, friendship, race, family, home, Old West, journey

Joseph Johnson has lost just about everyone he's ever loved. He lost his pa in an accident. He lost his ma and his little sister to sickness. And now, he's lost his pony-fast, fierce, beautiful Sarah, taken away by a man who had no right to take her. Joseph can sure enough get her back, though. The odds are stacked against him, but he isn't about to give up. He will face down deadly animals, dangerous men, and the fury of nature itself on his quest to be reunited with the only family he has left. Because Joseph Johnson may have lost just about everything. But he hasn't lost hope. And he hasn't lost the fire in his belly that says he's getting his Sarah back-no matter what.

So I enjoyed The Honest Truth well enough, and this here was another action-packed adventure filled with emotion—Joseph's connection to his horse is truly heart-wrenching, and that's not coming from an animal person. Each chapter was packed with pitfalls and scares, yet Joseph never loses hope. It's rather beautiful.

But. (Yes, there's a "but.") The story just went from disaster to disaster where Joseph, the I've-never-had-a-selfish-thought, too-altruistic kid saves the day again and again. It's a fine juvenile chapter book because it is just that: rather juvenile. Happiness prevails. Friends show up when they're supposed to. The (spoiler alerts!) bear-ravaged leg heals without a second thought, the baby is born without a trouble, the canoe survives the waterfall (end spoiler) and each trial is met with success again and again. I'm starting to sound a bit cynical (my apologies, really) but the story came off a bit too repetitive in its plot points and lacked needed depth. That was a long paragraph for a small complaint because, really, it is exciting and fun to read!

The point is, I don't find it on the level of Newbery. But I do find it a perfectly enjoyable read that I'll recommend to young readers who are looking for some fun Wild West adventure. Or who enjoyed The Honest Truth. They're very similar, after all. See for yourself!

Find it at your library or on Amazon

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