Some Kind of Courage

 
4.0
 
0.0 (0)
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Some Kind of Courage
Publisher
Age Range
8+
Release Date
January 26, 2016
ISBN
0545665779
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Joseph Johnson has lost just about everyone he's ever loved. He lost his pa in an accident. He lost his ma and his little sister to sickness. And now, he's lost his pony-fast, fierce, beautiful Sarah, taken away by a man who had no right to take her. Joseph can sure enough get her back, though. The odds are stacked against him, but he isn't about to give up. He will face down deadly animals, dangerous men, and the fury of nature itself on his quest to be reunited with the only family he has left. Because Joseph Johnson may have lost just about everything. But he hasn't lost hope. And he hasn't lost the fire in his belly that says he's getting his Sarah back-no matter what.

Editor reviews

1 reviews

For the love of a horse
Overall rating 
 
4.0
Plot/Characters/Writing Style 
 
4.0
Illustrations/Photos (if applicable) 
 
N/A
Joseph is being cared for by the horrible drunkard Mr. Grissom after the death of his father in an accident. He's been mistreated, but the final straw is that Grissom has sold his horse, Sarah, to the equally horrible Ezra Bishop. Joseph takes his father's gun, the money Grissom got for Sarah, and a few provisions to which he feels entitled, tells Grissom what he's doing, and runs away. Before he gets too far, he meets a Chinese boy who has lost his relatives to disease and who seems unable to leave the town. Without speaking his language, Joseph invites the boy, whose name is Cheng, to join him on his journey to find Bishop and retrieve his horse. Joseph understands loss, since his mother and younger sister both fell victim to diphtheria. It's not a bad idea to have a companion in the wilderness in the Northwest territories in the late 1800s, and the two boys face grizzlies, bad weather, "Indians" and plenty of evil doers. Cheng eventually finds his father, and Charlie finds not only his horse, but a home along the way.
Good Points
This was the best kind of historical fiction-- fast paced and interesting with lots of good details about what it was like to live in a certain time and place. Joseph's situation is certainly one that would have been common, and the inclusion of a variety of horse dealers was something new. While Joseph was dealing with many challenges, he always kept his sense of optimism, and the ending was a happy one.

It's difficult to find new books set in the old west, and many older titles contain inaccuracies, so it is great to see an adventure that encompasses horse riding, sleeping under the stars, and fighting outlaws. Fans of Gary Paulsen's Mr. Tucket series will find Joseph's search for his horse, and his home, to be a fresh and exciting read.

I very much appreciated the way that diversity was dealt with. This is an extremely tough call with historical books, and Gemeinhard struck a good balance. The terms and descriptions of the Chinese immigrants and the Indians are very true to the time period, and Gemeinhart goes out of his way to talk about the approved terms for the Chinese and how Joseph thinks that they should not be treated differently from other people. Because the author is not an enrolled member of a Native American tribe, however, I am concerned that the depictions of Native Americans will not meet with approval. The tribe dealt with is named as the Wenatchi.
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