Posts tagged ‘horses’

HOPE SPRINGS ETERNAL

Mary’s Song (Dream Horse Adventures Book 1)

Written by Susan Count

Mary is a twelve-year-old handicapped young lady. Her mother died when she was three; no one wants to talk about it. Mary lives with her father and a housekeeper. The story is set in 1952. Her father constantly searches for a possible medical breakthrough to cure his daughter. Mary is strong-willed and determined. Her best friend, Laura, rides and cares for horses at her home. The girls become obsessed with saving a horse named Illusion who needs surgery. They find ways of earning money toward that end.

Mary’s overprotective father frequently gets upset with Mary’s obstinate behavior. Laura and Mary disobey their parents and end up in trouble often, but that means lots of interesting adventures along the way. Will the girls be able to save Illusion? Can Mary’s father find a medical cure to help Laura walk again?

Middle-grade and young adult readers will find the antics of these two friends’ fun and endearing. There is lots of humor and a few surprises in store for readers. Two strong female role models and a tender story of animal affection will appeal to a wide audience. Highly recommended. I look forward to reading the sequel.

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COURAGE AND PERSEVERANCE

Tails of Sweetbrier

Written by Deanie Humphrys- Dunne

Illustrated by Holly Humphrys-Bajaj

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A warm and moving autobiography of a girl who had a dream of riding horses. That might not seem so tough to achieve until you discover that Deanie was afflicted with cerebral palsy. Deanie convinces her parents that she will work hard to achieve that dream, and her father opens up a riding school to support that dream.

Readers follow Deanie’s journey as she learns to walk, trot and canter on her pony, Little Man. As her confidence grows, she begins to dream of loftier goals. Despite a family tragedy with a barn fire that results in the loss of her horse, Chiefie, Deanie and her family persevere and rebuild. We follow their successes and failures as well as the physical hardships that Deanie endures.

The author teachers her young readers to reach for the stars. Work hard to achieve your dreams and use the challenges and failures that occur along the way as a ladder to climb to success. Beautifully written story written in less than one hundred pages that make it perfect for a middle grade and young adult audience. Deanie’s physical challenges and determination also provide inspiration for those with special needs and learning disabilities. The black and white illustrations draw the reader into the story and personalize the narrative enhancing its appeal. Highly recommended for readers age eight and older, especially those who love horses.

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#READ KIDS CLASSICS – FRIENDS OR FOES

Flip and the Cows

Written and Illustrated by Wesley Dennis

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This book was originally copyrighted in 1942. The copyright was renewed in 1970 and reprinted by Scholastic Books in paperback format.

Flip is a young, energetic, black colt with a taste of adventure. When he views the sharp horns of the cows standing beyond the fence, Flip is afraid. Flip does not understand the basis for the fear, yet it is strong. Once day he starts to back up to get away, when he finds himself colliding with his mother. She nips him and Flip runs away. Little does he realize he is rushing headlong into a herd of cows. How will they react to Flip? Are his fears unfounded?

This book with black and white illustrations is soft and sweet. Dennis illustrated more than 150 children’s books. His most famous works are Anna Sewell’s Black Beauty and John Steinbeck’s The Red Pony. Dennis combined his artistic talents with author Marguerite Henry on fifteen children’s books featuring horses. Born in 1903, Dennis began his career as a newspaper illustrator later working as a children’s book illustrator until his death in 1966.

I purchased this book for my children in the 1970’s. They spent summers in an area peppered by farms containing cows and horses so this was a favorite read. Recommended as a bedtime story vintage classic or as an easy beginning reader. Check your library. A few used copies are available on Amazon.

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HOLD ON TO YOUR REINS

Keeping Secrets (Timber Ridge Riders Book 1)

Written by Maggie Dana

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First in a series of books featuring young teens and their love of horses. Kate is fourteen and spending her summer with her aunt because her father is a lepidopterist who is busy chasing butterflies in Brazil. Looking for something to keep her occupied, Kate applies for a summer job as a companion for a teen named Holly. Holly is now wheelchair bound as a result of a horseback riding accident.

Kate has a dark secret. She was blamed for the death of a horse in her care. Now she is petrified to go near a horse stall. Holly’s mom gives riding lessons and coaches an equestrian team. Kate hopes to steer clear of the barn, but she is gradually drawn to it. She must overcome the bullying of Angela, a spoiled brat whose wealthy mother accepts nothing less than first place. Quite a few shenanigans involved in the plot. Dana succeeds in making the reader identify with her characters. The love of horses and its power on the main characters are carefully woven into the plot. Just a hint of romance with the introduction of a young teen male character.

This story is just under two hundred pages with vocabulary and plot lines that are suitable for readers age nine and older. The book is well-written with a nice mix of descriptive language and dialogue. Teachers might break the book up into chapters for read aloud and class discussion.

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HORSING AROUND

Horses: Amazing Pictures & Fun Facts on Animals in Nature

Written by Kay de Silva

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This book is a must for a child interested in horses or for an adult who wants to know more about these beautiful animals that have played such an important part in history. It is well organized and illustrated with color photographs. The author explores the family and habits of horses, their anatomy, how horses communicate, the types of breeds, and relationship to man.

Here are a few interesting facts that I discovered. A horse lies down for only 45 minutes a day, and when it does, others in the herd keep watch. A horse’s eyes are the largest of all the land mammals. Horses have baby teeth like humans. You are able to tell a horse’s age by looking at its teeth. Older horses have yellow teeth and other pattern markings. That is where the expression that it is rude to look a gift horse in the mouth originated! I learned that a horse’s height is measured in hands (each measures four inches or ten centimeters).

One of the most interesting sections discussed temperament. Horses are classified as hot blooded, warm blooded or cold blooded. Hot blooded horses are quick to learn and have lots of energy; many are race horses. Warm blooded horses are calmer and are more suitable to be riding horses. The cold blooded horses are heavier and more muscular. They are very calm and suited to work like working on farms. Today horses are involved in sporting events like horse racing and individual equestrian events. Earlier in our history, horses were used in warfare.

The author packs a lot of information in this book of less than sixty pages. Whether the reader is a horse enthusiast or just an admirer, the book and its illustrations are pleasing and informative. It is written in simple language. Recommended for children and adults ages eight and up. If you admire these beautiful animals, I don’t think you will be disappointed in this book.

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