Little Joe by Sandra Neil Wallace

by Dianne White on January 30, 2011

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LITTLE JOE by Sandra Neill Wallace, illustrated by Mark Elliott

We’re pleased to finish off January’s list of books with a wonderful new title by first-time author Sandra Neil Wallace. LITTLE JOE is a beautifully written story of a young boy who comes of age as he learns the challenges and looming heartbreak of raising his first calf.

Eli’d seen calves being born before, but standing beside Grandpa and watching Fancy give birth to a fine bull calf – his own, Little Joe – was something Eli would never forget.

It hadn’t started out well but, with Grandpa’s help, Eli gave Little Joe his first breaths and when the danger had passed, he’d also given Little Joe a piece of his heart. Over the months he raises Little Joe, Eli encounters many challenges, not the least of which is his father’s sometimes harsh ways. But by story’s end, both Eli and his father have learned to view one another with new understanding and admiration.

Full of fascinating details about cattle-raising and life on a farm in rural Pennsylvania, readers of LITTLE JOE will find themselves swept away by the richness of the language, the beauty of the setting.

This heart-warming story deserves a place on every middle grade classroom and young reader’s bookshelf.

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