Wednesday, February 5, 2020

"Old Ramon" by Jack Schaefer

This is a short, wonderful book.  I picked it up on a whim because I love Jack Schaefer's book Shane and was surprised to see he'd written for kids too.  And it's a Newbery Honor Book, at that!  I'm so surprised I'd never heard of it before, especially since I soaked up dog books when I was a kid.

A boy accompanies an aging shepherd named Ramon on a sheep drive, taking sheep to green pastures far away.  The sheep belong to the boy's father, Ramon's patron, who wants the boy to learn from Ramon because he spends too much time reading books and not enough out experiencing real life.  Ramon has two dogs with him, one as wise in the ways of shepherding as Ramon himself, and the other young and still learning.

Together, the old man, the boy, and the dogs face many dangers: sand storms, wolves, heat, thirst.  The boy learns much from Ramon about not just tending sheep, but about life, how to love others, and what it means to take on responsibilities.  This book is very short, just a hundred pages, but it packs so much wisdom and beauty into those pages!  I loved it.

Also, if they'd ever made a movie of it, Gilbert Roland would have been magnificent as Ramon.

Particularly Good Bits:

"Ramon does not speak just to make words.  What a good dog decides, a wise man accepts" (p. 14).

If This was a Movie, I Would Rate It:  PG for some perilous scenes.  

This is my 4th book read for #TheUnreadShelfProject2020.  I'm also counting it as my 43rd book read and reviewed for my second go-'round with The Classics Club because it fits my criterion of being older than 50 years and being written by someone known for writing classic stories.  It should be better known today!  

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