Josh (novel)

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Josh cover.jpg
Front cover of first edition
AuthorIvan Southall
GenreYoung adult realist novel
PublisherAngus & Robertson
Publication date
August 1971
Media typePrint (hardcover)
Pages179 pp (first edition)[1]
LC ClassPZ7.S726 Jo[2]

Josh is a young-adult novel by Ivan Southall, first published in 1971 by Angus & Robertson of Sydney, Australia. Southall was the first Australian to win the annual Carnegie Medal from the Library Association, recognising the year's best children's book by a British subject.[3] Both U.K. and U.S. editions were published within the calendar year.[1]

The story is set in rural Victoria. According to a retrospective citation by the British librarians, city boy "Josh's stay at Ryan Creek belongs to any time and place where people from different worlds confront one another."[3]

Plot summary[edit]

14-year-old Josh Plowman arrives in a country town for a week's visit with his great-aunt, the Plowman family matriarch. The city boy from Melbourne is immediately at odds with the Ryan Creek youngsters. His writing poetry and his dislike for hunting make him a target for the local boys. Initial misunderstandings eventually explode into violence. A traditional hero might have faced and fought the bullies but Josh shows a different sort of courage and integrity by choosing to walk away with dignity.

Style and reception[edit]

Southall himself said of Josh that it might not be his best book but it certainly was his most unusual.[4] It is written from Josh's point of view, the taut language effectively conveying his distress and frustration. Michele Gill cites Josh as an early example of the sensitive and vulnerable hero, a theme which became more and more prominent in children's literature afterward.[5]

A reviewer from the Australian Book Review in 1971 commented that the book was 'neurotic and hysterical' and wondered if there could be a sadist lurking within the author. A later reviewer commented: "From an adult perspective the writing is superb, the descriptions so full of feeling; but one wonders if this can be appreciated without an adult's accumulated range of experiences upon which to draw." [4]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b "Formats and editions of Josh" (index by date). WorldCat. Retrieved 2012-07-25.
    This is a point of entry for all participating library catalog records for the title.
  2. ^ "Josh" (Australia). Library of Congress Catalog Record.
    "Josh" (first U.S. edition). LCC record. Retrieved 2012-09-08.
  3. ^ a b Carnegie Winner 1971. Living Archive: Celebrating the Carnegie and Greenaway Winners. CILIP. Retrieved 2018-02-27.
  4. ^ a b (Josh/ Ivan Southall) Archived 2011-07-06 at the Wayback Machine.. Full Catalogue Details. Curriculum Materials Information Services. Western Australia.
  5. ^ "Carnegie Boys: 70 Years of Boyhood in Fiction". Michele Gill. Collection Interpretation Pack. CILIP. 2007.

External links[edit]

Preceded by
The God Beneath the Sea
Carnegie Medal recipient
Succeeded by
Watership Down