Johnny Rides Again

Jo Ann Muchmore, Author Holiday House $14.95 (106p) ISBN 978-0-8234-1156-6
Ten-year-old Rose Marlin mourns the death of her mother, who succumbed to cancer only months ago, and the subsequent death of the family's old dog Johnny intensifies Rose's misery. Although her father buys a puppy-another ``blue heeler''-and names it Johnny, too, nothing is quite the same. And when Mr. Marlin starts dating Miss Welman, a local schoolteacher, Rose is shocked at his disloyalty. Muchmore's first novel is first-rate in its portrayal of a plucky yet vulnerable character; Rose conducts an involving, often-times comical narrative with aplomb, and her language reflects the Texas setting without overpowering the reader. Not all the characters are as well delineated, however. Rose's two brothers, ages 14 and 7, seem interchangeable at times, and very little is said of their mother, an omission that thwarts the impact of Rose's anguish and fury regarding Miss Welman. Nevertheless, the book, meaningful and lively, is a promising debut and likely to captivate its audience. Ages 8-12. (Apr.)
Reviewed on: 04/03/1995
Release date: 04/01/1995
Prebound-Sewn - 978-0-606-12746-2
Paperback - 106 pages - 978-0-698-11594-1
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