ONE EYED JACK by Paula Miller,
Illustrations by Chris Forrest
Publisher: Blooming Tree Press
Nate is a ten-year-old boy living on a cattle
ranch in Montana in the 1880’s who
finds a nearly dead puppy on his first trip with his father riding sign. Riding sign means looking for strays as the reader
learns, and Jack, the puppy, is a not a welcome addition for Nate’s father. Thinking the puppy would never survive the
trip home, Nate’s father lets him keep Jack.
What happens when Jack is nursed back to health
and becomes a part of Nate’s household? Why was Nate’s father so reluctant to let him keep Jack? These and other
interesting things are revealed in this gentle adventure. Nate finds himself in the middle of events with Jack. He gets into
almost everything from Ma’s pie to Pa’s smokehouse and causes chaos wherever he goes.
Throughout the book there are many mentions
of God and several times Nate looks to God for answers. The back flap says this is a book for children of faith, and the idea
of solving problems using faith is emphasized. When Jack continues to misbehave Nate looks to God for his “help --and
a plan”. Sometimes some of Nate’s ideas seem a little too put together for a ten year old, but he is a likeable
A young reader will learn a great deal about
the day-to-day workings of a cattle ranch in the 1880’s from this story. Everything from using and cleaning an outhouse
to baking a pie is described in detail as each day unfolds, as well as how they kept track of their cattle and what it was
like to search for lost ones. Jack upsets everyone, including Ma and Pa. Does Nate get to keep Jack? What event changes
everyone’s mind? You will need to read the book either to yourself or preferably to a child to find out.
This is the first in the Faces of History
Series, and although for my taste there was too much mention and use of God, this is a good idea for a series. Ms. Miller
writes with warmth and compassion for both children and animals, and there is a very exciting scene before the story ends.
The illustrations by Chris Forrest help to clarify the story and provide a picture of Jack, Nate and his family in black and
white drawings throughout the book.
I would recommend this book for parents of
faith to read to their children or children of faith to read to themselves. There is no mention of the second book in this
series. This book is not suitable for kids who are not as immersed in faith as Nate. Also, though a history book, most teachers
and schools will probably pass because of the religious references.
Rating: 2 and a half roses