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Walter Hoge
Easter: McEaster Valley
Walter Hoge, author

"Dreams and aspirations in our lives are often the catalysts that lead to great accomplishments that benefit the world in which we live." -Walter R. Hoge, DVM, and author of McEaster Valley.

This unique and earthy tale is reminiscent to William P. Young's The Shack, in that it was written to the authors' children and that it serves as a parable that there is more to life than glitter and gold and that sometimes, the places where we get lost are exactly where we need to be. What distinguishes Hoge's fable is that it excites the imagination and conjures wonderment in the natural world in all its simple complexities. Whatever it is Hoge found in McEaster Valley, he shares with his readers this: If we respect the community in which we live, take care of our planet, and learn more about its nature, it may well yield clues that will help us live healthier, happier lives.

Plot/Idea: 4 out of 10
Originality: 4 out of 10
Prose: 4 out of 10
Character/Execution: 3 out of 10
Overall: 3.75 out of 10


Plot/Idea: Hoge's parable-like tale follows a narrator who stumbles onto a magical valley during a hike—and proceeds to meet a peculiar mentor who enlightens him on the true meaning of life.

Prose: The writing is lightly poetic, but it has a tendency to "tell" rather than "show," often becoming tangled in its own narration, which may keep readers from feeling immersed in the events that unfold. 

Originality: Tales of coming across portals to other worlds or dimensions are familiar. Despite some original imagery, Hoge's story may fail to fully capture the reader's interest. 

Character Development/Execution: The language and central character feel somewhat at odds with the intended audience. Though the story strives to impart an important lesson for young readers, the work has uncertain footing, poised between a short novel and a picture book. 

Date Submitted: August 25, 2022