The Devil in Ol' Rosie

The Devil in Ol' Rosie

by Louise Moeri

Ol' Rosie, a cranky, old mare, has escaped the corral and has led ten of the Nolan's other horses into the stark mountains of eastern Oregon. It's not the first time, but for Wart's pa, this is a particularly desperate situation. On their ranch -- as on any ranch in 1907 -- horses are the key to a rancher's livelihood. So when Ol' Rosie and the other horses run

…  See more details below


Ol' Rosie, a cranky, old mare, has escaped the corral and has led ten of the Nolan's other horses into the stark mountains of eastern Oregon. It's not the first time, but for Wart's pa, this is a particularly desperate situation. On their ranch -- as on any ranch in 1907 -- horses are the key to a rancher's livelihood. So when Ol' Rosie and the other horses run off, somebody has to go catch them. But Wart's ma is having a baby. His pa needs to stay with her and to watch his little brother Danny. That leaves twelve-year-old Wart with the dangerous and critical charge of rounding up their runaway horses by himself.

Struggling through the rugged wilderness and facing almost overwhelming peril, Wart must keep his wits about him.

"I stood there for another minute trying to think. The wind had been knocked out of me but I was beginning to breathe better. I was miles from home. It was late afternoon — soon to be dark. I was hurt. Gypsy was lame. Worst of all, I knew that the cougar was out there — close to me. I was bleeding and he was hunting."

With each successive threat, Wart becomes more determined to defy the frightening odds against him and prove his worth to his stern, critical pa. Wart is sent on a mission to save his family's ranch, and along the way he learns that despite his youth and insecurity, he possesses the knowledge and spirit to survive and eventually triumph.

Read More

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Moeri sets her rough-and-ready coming-of-age tale on a hardscrabble ranch in eastern Oregon in 1907. "My name is John, but Pa calls me Wart," the 12-year-old narrator explains. "I guess that's the way he sees me--hard, bumpy, and not much use." One cold morning, however, Wart gets a chance to prove himself. With Wart's mother about to have a baby and four-year-old Davy to mind, Pa can't leave the house to go after the valuable herd of horses that Ol' Rosie has led astray. Pa sends Wart off in his place to track the horse down and bring the herd home. Alone in the wilderness, Wart must pit all of his strength and skills not only against Ol' Rosie and her skittish followers, but also against fear, loneliness and danger--including a cougar attack and a deadly blizzard. Moeri paints a vivid picture of life in a remote corner of what was still a frontier. She deftly blends themes of survival and self-reliance with Wart's journey into manhood, his deep desire to win his father's approval and the strong bonds of family love. The lean prose, redolent with a sense of place, evokes a Western landscape, as central to the tale as its hero. In the end, Wart earns the right to trade in a moniker he finds shameful for his real name. A page-turner with heart. Ages 8-12. (Feb.) Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.
Children's Literature
"Rounding up Ol' Rosie was like rounding up a grizzly bear." That's the job twelve-year-old Wart faces in this perilous adventure set on a ranch in Oregon in 1907. Rosie is part horse, part devil, and she's escaped, taking all the other horses with her. Wart's stern, fault-finding Pa needs him to bring them the darkness and the snow...alone...with a hungry cougar tracking them all. Moeri captures the homespun rural voice and hard life of Wart and his Pa, as well as the love that Pa feels but doesn't know how to show. She also brings the landscape to life with the sounds, smells and behavior of horses. Wart's honest fears and subtle humor, especially when he's rapidly "running out of food, nerve, and ideas," make him a winning character with enough heart and determination for ten ranch hands. Can someone named Wart, a name he thinks he earned by being "hard, bumpy, and not much use," succeed? Can he even survive? Fans of Gary Paulsen's Hatchet should also enjoy this novel—especially the strategies and struggles of living to tell the tale, and of a boy convincingly becoming a man in two treacherous days. 2001, Atheneum, $16.00. Ages 8 to 12. Reviewer: Betty Hicks
School Library Journal - School Library Journal
Gr 4-7-Twelve-year-old Wart isn't quite sure what to think when his father wakes him up and tells him that Rosie, their most troublesome horse, has escaped, followed by most of the other horses. Wart takes off alone on a lame horse, knowing that it will be nearly impossible to retrieve them-yet he must succeed, or his family will no longer be able to work the ranch. His father can't help, because his mother is in labor. Wart's trip is filled with adventure as he deals with weather, dangerous animals, and injuries. The Oregon setting in 1907 provides enough hardships to increase the pace of the story and contributes to the development of a well-rounded character with lots of charm and determination. Wart's trip affords him time to ponder his place in his family as well as his place in a changing world. This exciting story will both inform and involve readers, giving them a glimpse into the past without devolving into a history lesson.-Betsy Fraser, Calgary Public Library, Canada Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
In the unforgiving terrain of eastern Oregon in the first decade of the 20th century, 12-year-old John Nolan (known to his family as"Wart") has been given a difficult, maybe even impossible job by his father. Because his mother is about to give birth, making it impossible for Wart's father to leave the family farm, it is up to Wart to find a group of runaway horses led by the temperamental and headstrong Ol' Rosie. Wart's father, gruff and uncommunicative, expects a great deal from his oldest son, leaving Wart feeling that whatever he does isn't good enough. Wart sets off before dawn and spends the day scouring the area around the farm, but with no luck. The next day, with his father's imaginary voice alternately chiding and encouraging him, Wart, amazingly, does manage to find the horses and get them home, but not before Ol' Rosie has taken on a cougar and killed it, and then bolted for her freedom, a freedom that Wart doesn't begrudge her. After Wart's dangerous expedition, he is beginning to see things differently."I've always thought of Pa as a real big man... . Hard as the rimrocks, strong as the biggest horse. But now all at once I saw that he isn't all that tall... . Maybe he isn't that hard, either, or that strong... ." Intermittently interesting, but generally slow-moving, despite the adventurous nature of Wart's journey, this novel all too deliberately sets out to show that this experience is a life-changing, fear-conquering, coming-of-age event for Wart. At least Wart offers a dissenting point of view to the hundreds of children's books that sing the praises of that oh-so-noble beast, the horse. Wart doesn't likethem."Youdon't get a whole lot of sympathy from a horse.A horse will kick you, and then when you're lying there on the ground—in a pile of manure—he will walk on you before you can get up." Not as powerful as Moeri's earlier Save Queen of Sheba (1981) or as action-packed as Gary Paulsen's The Haymeadow (1992), nevertheless this will appeal to readers who've enjoyed both. (Fiction. 8-12)

Read More

Product Details

Cengage Gale
Publication date:
Juvenile Series
Edition description:
Large Print
Product dimensions:
5.70(w) x 8.50(h) x 0.70(d)
Age Range:
9 - 12 Years

Related Subjects

Customer Reviews

Average Review:

Write a Review

and post it to your social network


Most Helpful Customer Reviews

See all customer reviews >