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Gemeinhart, Dan.
New York : Scholastic, 2016
IL 3-6, RL 4.4

(2 booktalks)

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Booktalk #1

“I aint never shot a man, sir, and I hope I never do. But I’m gonna get my horse back.” It’s 1890, and young Joseph Johnson has suffered some terrible losses. First, his mother and little sister succumb to typhoid fever; then his kindly pa dies in a wagon accident. All he has left in the world is his beloved painted pony, Sarah, given to him when he was 4 years old. Joseph has been left in the dubious care of Mr. Grissom, a grizzled old drunk, who sells Joseph’s Sarah to an unscrupulous horse trader. From thence begins an amazing odyssey, as Joseph sets out to recover his horse, always just a day’s journey away from reaching his goal. Along the way he joins up with a Chinese boy named Ah-Kee…neither can speak the other’s language, but they endure many hardships and experience many adventures together on their quest, including scaring off a mama grizzly and delivering a baby. A wonderfully imagined picture of the Old West and one boy’s indomitable spirit… superb writing, filled with humor as well as heart…and a satisfying ending.
(Booktalk by Great Stone Face Award Committee, 2017)

Booktalk #2

Twelve-year-old Joseph Johnson has experienced more than his fair share of loss in his short life. When his beloved horse Sarah is stolen and sold, there is nothing that Joseph won’t do to get her back. Joseph embarks on an unforgettable, heart-pounding adventure through the 1870’s wilderness of Washington State in hopes of being reunited with the only family he has left. (Vermont Dorothy Canfield Fisher Book Award, 2018)

SUBJECTS:   Historical fiction.
                        Horses -- Fiction.
                        Orphans -- Fiction.
                        Washington (State) -- History --- 19th century -- Fiction.
                        West (U.S.) -- Fiction.
                        Western fiction.

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