A very fine book with a lot of child appeal, unjustly ignored in our fast-paced world. Krumgold previously had been a Hollywood scriptwriter but left that career to make documentary films. He met the family portrayed in this book while working on a documentary.
12 year old Miguel is the next-to-youngest son in a shepherding family in New Mexico around World War Two. This family is descended from the early Spanish families in the region, there long before the English-speaking newcomers. Like other children of his age, he has one intense desire – he wants to be old enough to be part of the adult world. In his case, that means going off to the mountains with his father and brothers during the summer, when they drive the sheep herd there for summer grazing.
Krumgold completely gets the desires of Miguel and tells the story in a fully believable first person voice. There is a lot of farm humor and a description of a lamb being born that will amaze children. Miguel also learns that wishes require a price to be paid and that nothing is simple. The philosophical discussion of this which he has with his older brother is quite moving.
Ugh, this was so difficult to get through. So much repeating, I finally just had to skim through to the middle and then the end to finally get to the point. Which wasn't much. A bit predictable. I have no idea why it even won the Newbery Award in 1954...
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