Reviews for Josias, Hold the Book

by Jennifer Riesmeyer Elvgren

Kirkus
Copyright © Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.

On his Haitian farm, young Josias struggles to develop his bean crop that doesn't seem to want to grow this year. Seeing his friend Chrislove walk by on his way to school, Josias refuses the daily invitation to attend and "hold the book," noting his more important role, in a joint effort to earn a living as the family's vegetable gardener. Each successive day of frustration over the lack of a bean crop results in hours of thinking and trials of providing extra water and donkey dung for fertilizer. Josias finally comes to the realization that a book might provide a working solution. Now Josias must convince his father that school will serve an important purpose in the family's livelihood. Elvgren effectively portrays the dilemma faced by a majority of small agrarian families in an impoverished and predominantly illiterate rural society. Soft watercolors in muted shades of blues and greens offer the simple beauty of the countryside. Josias's well-meaning, earnest behavior comes through in several expressive facial portrayals as he thinks about solutions to his problem. Despite the difficulties, Elvgren presents a positive look at a struggling part of the world. (author's note) (Picture book. 5-8) Copyright ŠKirkus Reviews, used with permission.


Horn Book
(c) Copyright The Horn Book, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Josias cannot attend school because his work in the family garden ensures his family's survival. When his beans don't grow, a borrowed book suggests crop rotation, and Josias, realizing the value of reading, asks permission to go to school. Obstacles to Josias's schooling fall away too easily, but the watercolor pictures of rural Haiti are attractive. (c) Copyright 2010. The Horn Book, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted. All rights reserved.

Back