The Devil in Ol' Rosie

Louise Moeri, Author Atheneum Books $16 (208p) ISBN 978-0-689-82614-6
Moeri sets her rough-and-ready coming-of-age tale on a hardscrabble ranch in eastern Oregon in 1907. ""My name is John, but Pa calls me Wart,"" the 12-year-old narrator explains. ""I guess that's the way he sees me--hard, bumpy, and not much use."" One cold morning, however, Wart gets a chance to prove himself. With Wart's mother about to have a baby and four-year-old Davy to mind, Pa can't leave the house to go after the valuable herd of horses that Ol' Rosie has led astray. Pa sends Wart off in his place to track the horse down and bring the herd home. Alone in the wilderness, Wart must pit all of his strength and skills not only against Ol' Rosie and her skittish followers, but also against fear, loneliness and danger--including a cougar attack and a deadly blizzard. Moeri paints a vivid picture of life in a remote corner of what was still a frontier. She deftly blends themes of survival and self-reliance with Wart's journey into manhood, his deep desire to win his father's approval and the strong bonds of family love. The lean prose, redolent with a sense of place, evokes a Western landscape, as central to the tale as its hero. In the end, Wart earns the right to trade in a moniker he finds shameful for his real name. A page-turner with heart. Ages 8-12. (Feb.)
Reviewed on: 02/01/2001
Release date: 02/01/2001
Paperback - 208 pages - 978-1-4424-0202-7
Hardcover - 189 pages - 978-0-7862-3808-8
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