Wednesday, 6 January 2010

A Shepherd's Watch - David Kennard

A Shepherd's Watch is a book about a year in the life of a working shepherd. Although the subtitle indicates that it talks about the shepherd and his dogs, the sheepdogs are only one part of the story, which comprises sheep, and the turning of the seasons, and David's family.

It is a warm cosy book that leads you season by season through the usual happenings of a sheep farm. Kennard writes honestly and frankly about how much hard work it involves; how little money he takes; how the work of moments can damage a whole season.

There are touching stories about his sheepdogs, and I think a lot of readers will have sympathy for the plight of Ernie, a young dog who is a little too eager about herding sheep.

Kennard also writes about a few of the sheepdog trials he enters, and how effective his dogs turn out to be.

There is gentle humour and simplistic language which makes it a fast and easy read.

I have my complaints, it was certainly not the perfect book! Kennard's dialogue is stilted and difficult to read without smiling (and for all the wrong reasons!) However, I am willing to cut him some slack because he is not a natural author, and the dialogue is a small part of the overall book.

It was diverting enough for an afternoon's read, but I wouldn't go out of my way to recommend unless someone specifically wanted a book about sheep herding.

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