Review

342. Alternative READ: One-Eyed Jack ~ Paula Miller ~Blooming Tree Press ~ Children’s Book

Title: One-Eyed Jack
Author: Paula Miller
Website of Author: http://www.paulajmiller.com/
Publisher: Blooming Tree Press
Website of Publisher: http://bloomingtreepress.com/
Genre: Children’s Book
Publication Date: 2006
ISBN: 0-9718348-8-1 (hardcover)
ISBN: 0-9769417-0-8 (paperback)
Length: 133 pages
Format: Hardcover; paperback

One Eyed Jack ~ Paula Miller ~ Kids Book

One-Eyed Jack ~ Paula Miller ~ Blooming Tree Press ~ Children’s Book

Book Content:
Nate is a boy in 1880 Montana who finds a wounded puppy while out riding and rounding up cattle with his father. The puppy has a dark patch over his eye, and Nate decides to call him One-Eyed Jack. Because of past traumatic experiences, his father does not like dogs, and Nate must care for the puppy in spite of his father’s reluctance. Predictably, the dog gets into all sorts of scrapes, and Nate has his hands full just hanging on to him. In the end the dog redeems himself to the father, and to everyone else.

Book Review:
This book is for Christians only, and I would not recommend it to those who follow a vegetarian diet. Potentially, for someone like me to review this book means that the author already has two strikes against her before I even start, but I shall try my best not to be biased. My criticisms are based in something more fundamental, something that pertains to the craft of writing itself.

This book is about Nate, a boy on a Montana farm who is eager to help his father in whatever way he can. His young life is not a coddled one, he must face the music when he does something wrong. At the same time, he grows up in a family that is loving and caring. The boy not only goes “riding sign” with his father, rounding up cattle, but he also goes into the woods by himself, accompanied only by his new-found friend, the dog One-Eyed Jack, to set traps and catch foxes. I know that sort of life; I grew up as a peasant boy in a European village, and I knew the fields and forests of our village like the back of my hand. I would expect nothing less of Nate. Yet, toward the end of the story he gets caught in a blizzard and is lost. I have been in Wisconsin blizzards when you couldn’t see the hand in front of your eyes, so I can understand that Nate doesn’t know where he is. But the snow stops, and the boy still doesn’t know where he is, even though he is resting only half a mile away from his home. There he is overtaken by a bear, the bear attacks; Nate stumbles and strains his foot while his dog, One-Eyed Jack bravely fights off the bear. Everything would be fine if Nate knew exactly where he was.

Which brings me to the dog, One-Eyed Jack. When a dog jumps up on a person with such force that the person falls down, and in another episode even knocks down two men, you would expect him to be just a bit larger than the pipsqueak that is depicted in the drawings. In fact, it would have been much more to my liking if the drawings had been just a bit more forceful.

These are my criticisms. But I read this book with two minds, one was the mind of the critic, the other what I would imagine to be the mind of a seven or eight year old child. Had I been a child, would I have minded these nitpicking discrepancies? Not on your life! I would have inhaled this book, preferably in one sitting. It would have had me worried in some passages, but in the end I would have felt great. I would have appreciated the simple flowing language and the positive outlook. So let us not tell the children about my criticisms, let us just allow them to enjoy the book!

Egon H.E. Lass
Alternative-Read.com Reviewer

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