cover image The Golden Pasture

The Golden Pasture

Joyce Carol Thomas. Scholastic, $0 (136pp) ISBN 978-0-590-33681-9

The author of Marked By Fire has created a spirited, lyrical tale with a memorable cast of characters. Carl Lee, the son of a Cherokee mother (whom he has never known) and a black father, who is distant and unpredictable, has always felt closest to Gray Jefferson, his father's father, and often spends summers with him on his ranch, Golden Pasture. An ex-rodeo star, Gray is full of stories, and has plenty of time for his grandson. The summer that Carl Lee is 12, Gray tells him he may enter the Boley rodeo if he's prepared. Carl Lee rescues an injured Appaloosa and then surprises his grandfather by being able to ride the wild animal. The boy rides the horse in the rodeo, and on his day of triumph the past and the present come together in a stirring event that also reunites father and son. The end to Thomas's story may be no surprise, but readers will stay with her fast-paced story. Thomas is a weaver of words, combining just the right ones to create a loving picture of three generations. (12-up)