By Sandra Neil Wallace
This is a sweet book about the relationships among three generations of farmers: Eli Stegner, his father, and his grandfather. It is also about Eli's connection to the first calf he gets to call his own. Little Joe is destined to be a winner at the county fair cattle show, but that blue ribbon will pretty much insure that he goes to the highest bidder and then to the butcher. Such is the reality of farm life. However, Eli and Joe are in for a happy ending, as are the boy and his father, whose relationship evolves from one of prickly distance to mutual understanding, thanks to the gentle influence of Eli's grandfather. A helpful diagram shows the parts of a beef animal. This thoughtful, tender book will appeal to those readers who are familiar with the Stegners' world, and many more will be able to identify with the highs and lows of familial love.