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Posted April 2, 2010
slow moving but interesting story about Hispanic American culture
This book won the Newbery Award in 1954. It is about twelve-year-old Miguel Chavez who hope that this will be the year that he will get to go with the men of the Chavez family to take the sheep on the difficult drive to the Sangre de Christo Mountains. When his attempts to prove that he is ready go unnoticed he prays to San Ysidro, but when his prayer seems to be answered he is not sure that he is ready to pay the price. I had thought that the book was "historical fiction," perhaps set in early twentieth-century Mexico. In fact, it is set in New Mexico at a time fairly contemporary to its writing (of course, that is now "historical"!).Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
There is very little overtly wrong with the book, other than a few references to smoking tobacco, drinking wine, gambling, and some sibling rivalry (fighting, pinching, lying). Of course, New Testament Christians would not approve of praying to the saints, but this can easily be explained as part of the culture of those people which we simply do not find in the Bible. My worst problem doing this as a read aloud was the fact that the story is told by Miguel in the language of a semi-literate, twelve-year-old Hispanic boy, and the grammar and the sentence structure often ended up getting my tongue all twisted up. And the Winner Is...: A Guide to Newbery Medal Winners From a Christian Perspective by Barb Brandes and Deb Ekstrand lists both positives and negatives for the book.
Positively, one of them said, "I learned much about sheep raising in this book. Living in New Mexico in the early 1940's, the Chavez family is a Catholic, Mexican American family, with many intergenerational relationships where age is respected." Negatively, the reviewer wrote, "There is much ado about the annual festival honoring the patron saint of the village, and Miguel prays to the saint to have his wish granted. Protestant families may want to preview this, or read it aloud so that this aspect of the Catholic faith can be discussed." It is an interesting story, though perhaps a little slow-moving at times, and would make good reading to go along with a study of Hispanic American culture.
Posted October 28, 2006
This is the story of a twelve-year-old Miguel Chavez, who yearns in his heart to go with the men of his family on a long and hard sheep drive to the Sangre de Cristo Mountains--until his prayer is finally answered, with a disturbing and dangerous exchange.He wanted to be treated like a man, not a child. Every summer the men of the Chavez family go on a long and difficult sheep drive to the mountains. All the men, that is, except for Miguel. All year long, twelve-year-old Miguel tries to prove that he, too, is up to the challenge'that he, too, is up to the challenge'that he, too is ready to take the sheep into his beloved Sangre de Cristo Mountains. When his deeds go unnoticed, he prays to San Ysidro, the saint for farmers everywhere. And his prayer is answered . . . but with devastating consequences. When you act like and adult but get treated like a child, what else can you do but keep your wishes secret and pray that they'll come true. The 1981 Newbery Medal winner.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted February 7, 2006