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BACK AT THE RANCHO WITH JOSEFINA
QUESTIONMARK

Josefina Montoya.

Does the name ring a bell? Maybe you have heard about the new American Girl doll, but maybe you haven't. Well, she is finally out, along with new books about her life. And everyone is trying to find out as much as they can about her.

The two books I read ("Meet Josefina" and "Josefina Learns a Lesson"), are very intersting and tell a lot about Josefina and her time in 1824.

Let's start with her name. Her name is Maria Josefina (pronounced "hosifina") Montoya. Everyone calls her Josefina. She is 9 and lives with her family in New Mexico during the 1820s.

Her mama died when she was 8, so she lives with her papa. Ana is her oldest sister; Francisca is her 15-year-old sister; Clara is her 12-year-old sister, and Tia Dolores is her aunt, who, in Josefina's first book, comes to live with her and her family.

In that first book, Josefina's abulito (her grandpa) comes on a wagon train and brings Tia Dolores to them. They are very happy because she reminds them of their mama. Tia Dolores helps them physically and spiritually.

The Montoyas live on a rancho (a large farm) so they need lots of help to keep it going. They have a cook and a gardener and many farmhands to help them. The four girls wake up early to help and each day they have many chores to perform, such as washing, cooking, spinning and weaving.

At the end of the day, they usually gather in the hacienda and eat and play. Sometimes Tia Dolores reads to them.

Josefina's ranch is very big. In the kitchen there are strings of dried vegetables hanging from the ceiling. They were picked from the garden that has Josefina's mother's flowers in it that Josefina now takes care of.

Francisca, Clara and Josefina share a room. They sleep on the floor in sheepskins. They have a weaving room and two guest rooms for company. Their papa has a bedroom and there is a room of prayer. There is also a separate room for dancing at a fandango or a party. It is in the courtyard, not joining the house. There are also many other rooms in the house, such as the rooms for the servants and the cook and ranch hands.

Josefina's father has many sheep on the ranch. He also has goats, horses and a few other animals. In one of Josefina's stories, she gets into a fight with one of the goats. It is really funny.

The Josefina doll is very pretty, with long dark hair and big dark eyes. She has seven outfits you can order in the Pleasant Co. catalog. Four of them are for the doll, and three are for you to look like her.

Some of Josefina's things that you can get from the catalog are: a rebozo or shawl; a pendant; coin; hankie in a pouch; ribbon; earrings; sash; moccasins; blouses; skirts, and a beautiful dress.

Try to learn more about Josefina, because she is fun to know about.

Caroline Bell is a fifth-grader at St. Benedict's School.

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