Title: Heart of A Shepherd
Author(s): Rosanne Parry
Illustrator/Photographer: Jan Gerardi
Publisher and Year: Random House Inc., 2009
Number of pages: 161
Analysis: In Rosanne Parry’s chapter book Heart of a Shepherd, the text functions as a window to the audience because the events that takes place in our lives will help reveal the unseen, our higher calling. In this story, the main character, Brother is doing what no other 12-year-old boy would do. He is in charge of running the ranch and taking care of his grandparents as his father is called off to war and his four other brothers are away either at boarding school or college. Right off the bat, we find out that Brother’s mother left him and his father and brothers to continue her art work in New York City. So we can conclude that Brother’s family is not considered a stereotypical American family. Perhaps it is because of Brother’s father that made her leave. While the book does not say the reason for why she left, I can infer that she left because Brother’s father, being a member of the Army Reserves, kept a very tight ship at home and did not allow his wife to do the things she loved best. We see by the end of the story, after Brother’s father returns for his father’s funeral, he begins to understand that pushing his sons to join the military might have not been the best decision that he has made. Fighting on foreign ground reminds him of how much danger he is putting his children into. Being the youngest of four brothers, Brother finds it difficult to get along with his siblings. He is bossed around. But, with his brothers gone he begins to understand the responsibilities of maintaining a ranch. He quickly learns how to wire a fence, feed calves, and be a veterinarian. He also experiences a natural disaster as a windstorm spreads a wild fire. Realizing that the extra hand is watching the sheep some miles away, Brother and his grandfather decide to race to find and rescue the extra hand and the sheep. They get there just in time and as they wait out the storm, Brother’s grandfather has a heart attack. His last words are to Brother, telling him to not be afraid of what he wants to become. Through this tragedy, his family becomes closer and stronger even in the face of destruction. Brother finally has the will to tell his father who he wants to become. He wants to become a chaplain for the army because of the influence his grandfather not only had on him, but on a vast amount of people who came to help Brother’s family rebuild their home.