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JOSEPHA by Jim McGugan


A Prairie Boy's Story

by Jim McGugan & illustrated by Murray Kimber

Pub Date: Oct. 1st, 1994
ISBN: 0-8118-0802-5
Publisher: Chronicle Books

In 1900, teenage Josepha is an immigrant boy who is leaving school to work. Josepha never learned to speak English. In school he sat with much littler children and was shamed, although he was always kind and generous and protected the younger kids from bullies. One of those boys became his best friend and now waits with Josepha for the cart that will take him away. Josepha romps with his little sisters, then bends down to tenderly wipe the boy's prized shoes of dust. The schoolteacher asks Josepha to stay in school, but his family needs the dollar a day he will make bagging grain. He gives her a tiny whittled violin that he has made. Then Josepha's brother drives up in his wagon. Josepha and the boy exchange gifts, each giving the other his most beloved possession. Newcomer McGugan's writing is poetry—each word perfectly chosen, each phrase balanced and rhythmic. Kimber's paintings are strongly evocative of the early 20th century in style as well as content. Finding a book this exquisite is rare. Cherish it. (Fiction/Picture book. 6-12)