02 February 2011

Heart of a Shepherd by Rosanne Parry

In Malheur County, Oregon, you’re either a soldier or a rancher, and both have their downfalls.  When Brother’s dad gets his orders, along with his entire 87th Transportation Battalion, to go to Iraq, it’s up to Brother and his grandparents to make sure that everything on the ranch runs smoothly.  Brother has four brothers (which is how he came to be called just “Brother”) but they are all older and away at school with their own lives.  Grandpa is tough, but he’s old, and Brother feels like most of the responsibility is on his shoulders.  So while he’s trying to figure out what he wants to do with his life, and worrying about whether or not there’s an email from Dad that day, he’s also pretty busy trying to take care of all of the animals and people and land in his life. 

This is an endearing tale of a quiet life, unfamiliar to many, and it fits perfectly alongside the story of Brother, who is contemporary and real and strong.  I don't usually use this forum to review books published as children's books, but this story is recommended to everyone – young and old, rancher, soldier, and clergyman.  It will break your heart and then lift you up all in one grand swoop.  
Call number: J PARRY (Children's Room)
Reviewed by kate the librarian.

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