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One-Eyed Jack Review by Cheryl Bastarache

Paula Miller
Blooming Tree Press
PO Box 140934
Austin, TX 78714-0934

One-Eyed Jack is the first release in the new children's series, Faces of History, by Blooming Tree Press. To quote the publisher, "the series is dedicated to showing children and teens of faith during different periods of history." Set in Montana in the 1880s, the book centers on young Nate and his struggle to convince his father that his rescued pup, One-Eyed Jack, has a useful place on the family's cattle ranch. It is aimed at the popular 8-12 market, but it appeals to a much wider range, especially as a family read-aloud.

It was refreshing to finally find a book that has a male protagonist as well as a truly entertaining storyline--one that didn't have to be previewed or edited for fear of unwanted material. Author Paula Miller did a wonderful job of applying biblical principles throughout the book. I especially appreciated the way the siblings interacted with each other in a loving but still playful way. I also think that Miller did a great job of capturing the dialogue and atmosphere of the time. My boys really liked the folksongs that were woven into the story. The charming illustrations peppered throughout the book (done by Chris Forrest) were also a hit. They inspired some charming illustrations by my own little artists.

The book also offered some good copywork and narration lessons. I can see it being the springboard into many areas of further study--ranching, folk music, the geography of Montana, and the list could go on. It is definitely a keeper for us.

Miller is currently working on the next book, and we eagerly await it.

Product review by Cheryl Bastarache, The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine, LLC, December 2006