cover image Josepha: A Prairie Boy's Story

Josepha: A Prairie Boy's Story

Chronicle Books, Jim McGugan. Chronicle Books, $11.95 (32pp) ISBN 978-0-8118-0802-6

Josepha, a generous-hearted immigrant boy in the time of Willa Cather's prairie epics, is leaving school to work the harvest. Seeing him off, a younger friend thinks about ``red-faced Josepha. Past 14 and trying to learn in primary row,'' hardly able to speak English. Josepha also wards off bullies, laughs at the cold in his shoeless feet, whittles gifts for all. The narrator's own parting gift from Josepha is his much-cherished pocketknife; in return the boy gives Josepha his own prize possession-his leather boots. Ocher, blue, red and brown dominate the painterly illustrations, echoing such American artists as Marsden Hartley and Andrew Wyeth. Complex and historically grounded, this is a picture book for children ready for sophisticated themes. Ages 6-12. (Oct.)