Theodore Roosevelt
Letters From a
Young Coal Miner.

“A spontaneous, exuberant outpouring of fun.” -Kirkus Reviews, October 1998

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Written by Dia Calhoun
Illustrated by Hervé Blondon

Voice of Youth Advocates, 8/1/1999
"This is a promising first novel with depth and subtlety in its development. The story is compelling; the reader's sympathies are quickly engaged, and the plot moves swiftly. It is a coming-of-age story, and Jonathon's growth from age twelve to fourteen is convincing. Calhoun's images are clear and vivid and conveyed lucidly . . . [and] her characterizations are well textured and three-dimensional. . . . Calhoun is a writer to watch."

Today's Librarian, 7/1/1999
"In this first novel, Calhoun captures the hearts of readers with the story of a boy's dangerous adventure and search for answers. A vivid fantasy adventure for readers thirteen and older. [Jonathon] Brae's tale of self-discovery should appeal to youths of either gender."

School Library Journal, 6/1/1999
"The girl is hiding behind a large boulder across the river when Jonathon Brae first spots her. Her cap seems to have little horns, her hair is flaming red streaked with gold, and her eyes peer at Jonathon with the same blue sparkle that his have. Then, in an instant, she disappears. Jonathon is terrified. A Dalriada! What is a barbarian doing so far from the Red Mountains? Are they raiding the Valley? He runs home to his loving parents, brown-eyed like the rest of the Valley people, and steps into the middle of an argument. His mother wants his father to wait until Jonathon is fourteen to take him to the Red Mountains to hunt; Brian thinks that twelve is old enough, but he leaves without the boy. When he returns, Karena is incensed at the gift he has brought for his son: a black colt with gold streaks in his mane and tail, ‘Rhohar' or king of the Dalriadas' horse clans.

"The arrival of this animal changes everything in Jonathon's life as he strives to understand what it is about the colt and the Red Mountains that calls to him, why dark ridges have appeared on his forehead, and if he is going crazy as the Valley folk claim. In an all-consuming search for identity, Jonathon sets forth to face any obstacle to become whole. In the tradition of Robin McKinley's The Blue Swordand Lloyd Alexander's ‘Prydain Chronicles,' Jonathon's quest evokes a timeless struggle for identity amid vivid imagery, heartbreaking loss, and a subtle weave of fantasy."