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Jim-Dandy Paperback – January, 1996

2.5 out of 5 stars 2 customer reviews

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Fish in a Tree
Make This Summer A Classic
The uplifting and unforgettable New York Times bestselling, Schneider Award-winner that's perfect for fans of "Wonder." Hardcover | Kindle book | See more for ages 9-12
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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

In prose as spare as it is evocative, Irwin ( The Original Freddie Ackerman ) crafts a moving introduction to the savage "winning" of the American West. Isolated with his taciturn Quaker stepfather on a parched Western Kansas homestead, 13-year-old narrator Caleb's only confidant is Dandy, a spirited horse that he raised from a foal. Instructed by his savvy new neighbor Athens (who, he's surprised to discover, is a girl), Caleb trains the skittish colt while Webb, his stepfather, is away for the summer working on the Santa Fe Trail. In autumn, desperately needing cash once again, Webb sells Dandy to Custer's Seventh Cavalry at Fort Hays. Caleb runs away to Fort Hays, where, as "Dandy's boy," he earns his keep as a groom for the new mount of the self-styled "General" (actually, colonel) and his wife. Caleb's romance with army life comes to a brutal end when he observes firsthand the massacre of the Cheyenne--and the slaughter of some 800 of their ponies--at the Battle of the Washita. "It didn't make sense why women and children got shot. . . . Wars were supposed to be what men did to each other," says the horrified youth. Irwin's themes are thoughtfully developed and well worth pondering. Ages 10-14.
Copyright 1994 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From School Library Journal

Grade 5-8-After Caleb's father died in the Civil War, his mother remarried a fellow-Quaker, Webb, who took the family west to Kansas. When she dies, 12-year-old Caleb gives his affection to a foal. Horse lovers will delight in the growth of their special bond as spirited Dandy grows; is halter-broken; takes the boy on a wild night ride; and the two of them race with a young Cheyenne, Hawk, and his pony. But in the second half of the book, the tone changes. Webb sells Dandy to Colonel Custer, Caleb runs away to be with his horse, and the two of them are plunged into the bloody battle of Washita, where Hawk is one of the first to die. Sick of death, Caleb tries to run away with Dandy, but when the animal hears the bugle, he harkens to its call and returns to his new master. A note explains that the story is based on a real mount Custer bought from a Kansas farmer. The ending seems abrupt because readers are so rooted in Caleb's voice that, like the boy himself, they miss the foreshadowing of Dandy's lust for battle. Ultimately, this is a coming-of-age story about love and loss. A thought-provoking read that's sure to promote discussion.
Sally Bates Goodroe, Houston Public Library
Copyright 1994 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Product Details

  • Age Range: 8 and up
  • Grade Level: 3 and up
  • Lexile Measure: 950L (What's this?)
  • Paperback: 135 pages
  • Publisher: Troll Communications (January 1996)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 081673867X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0816738670
  • Product Dimensions: 7.6 x 5.2 x 0.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 3.2 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 2.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #5,246,756 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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By A Customer on September 18, 1999
Format: Hardcover
The author brings a little too much 1990s sensitivity to the 1870s, creating a world which just didn't exist. In the author's view, the indians were good, pure, clean, and represented just about every good quality; while the settlers and cavalry were less-than-bright exploiters of the wilderness and ravagers of the environment and the local populace. This kind of revisionism gets tiresome, and luckily my 10 and 12 year old kids recognized this as well as I did. The author's reliance on politically-correct ideology creates unbelieveable characters and situations. If the author had himself been a settler in Kansas during that time period, I believe we would have had a different point of view in this story.
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By A Customer on October 22, 2002
Format: Hardcover
A Beautifully Written Story about a Young Boy and His Horse who face and Overcome many Challenges. NOT meant to be a True to life Historical Novel. My Son and I loved it! Nice to read a Warm Inspiring Story about a Different Time and Place.
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