Many of us avid readers have other passions as well–knitting, soccer, camping, or cars, for example–and mine is horses. While I don’t know much about car stories, I do know there are lots of great stories about horses, caring for horses, and riding horses. Think of the classics: the Marguerite Henry books (Misty of Chincoteague), the Anna Sewell books (Black Beauty), the Walter Farley books (The Black Stallion)…The great thing for horse lovers is an ever-expanding collection of books to embrace. Whether you’re 5 or 50, there are plenty of stories about horses and their people to keep you interested, including some exciting recent and upcoming titles.
As with stories that revolve around other popular pastimes, the best horse books–the ones that horse lovers cherish–are written by authors who know the subject matter. The best stories are accurate and reflect knowledge, humor and sadness, and real experiences and relationships, no matter if they’re written for young children, teens, or adults. Luckily, there are many great books featuring horses. Here are some titles fresh off the presses for horsey-minded readers to enjoy.
Told from the point of view of a large Belgian draft horse, Macadoo of the Maury River is the tale of a colt, born at a large breeding establishment in Alberta and sold at auction to a kindhearted person who saves him from the kill buyer. Macadoo grows from a brave colt into a gentle soul of a horse satisfied with his place in the world. Named after the man who bought him at the auction–because the man’s name is on the halter the colt is given–Macadoo is moved from place to place as the situations of his humans change. He is always treated properly, but his story reveals his sorrow at being torn from his mother’s side and later at losing the boy he has developed a bond with. Macadoo finds himself at a riding stable for children, where he finally comes to terms with his role helping young people gain confidence. This book, to be released in August, is the second installment in Gigi Amateau‘s Horses of the Maury River series. (ISBN 9780763637668. Gr 4-7.)
Mystery at Black Horse Farm by Jenny Hughes is a high-action whodunit with a little harmless romance thrown in for good measure. Tweens and teens at a summer horse camp practice their jumping, venture out on trails, and even swim in the ocean with their horses. Meanwhile, the protagonists try to figure out who is trying to steal a necklace belonging to the girl whose family owns the property.The mystery thickens to reveal dangerous thieves, a hidden treasure, and a heroine on horseback. Other books in this 2013 series include Fantasy Horse and Model Horse. (ISBN 9781621240037. Gr 4-6.)
In Samphire Song by Jill Hucklesby, fourteen-year-old Jodie finds solace working at a horse stable after her father is killed in an airplane accident. When her mother’s financial situation suddenly improves, Jodie finally is able to search for her dream horse. She chooses Samphire, a part-Arabian stallion with some emotional baggage of his own, but the two bond and develop a strong relationship, allowing Jodie to heal and make friends with the other girls at the stable. When Jodie’s younger brother suddenly needs a new kidney, the health costs lead to losing Samphire. Distraught but resigned to abide by her family’s needs, Jodie moves on after his sale, but is determined to one day get him back. A perilous evening in a horse yard with dangerous thugs features Jodie fleeing on her faithful steed, and a satisfying ending leaves the reader cheering for girl and horse. (ISBN 9780807572245. Gr 5-7.)
Jessie Haas‘s Bramble and Maggie books are super for young horse lovers, but they will be eagerly read by other young readers as well. In the first book, Bramble and Maggie: Horse Meets Girl, Bramble is revealed to be an opinionated pony no longer interested in giving lessons at the riding school. Maggie is looking for her first mount and the two find themselves to be a good match. Realistic in characterization and description, as well as in the charming illustrations, the book is a great introduction to how a girl and her first pony get to know one another. In Bramble and Maggie: Give and Take, Maggie learns that in order to get Bramble to cooperate, she must also understand and respond to her pony’s preferences. Little girls who pore over horse care encyclopedias and dream of their own ponies will love these books! (ISBN 9780763662516, 9780763650216. Gr 1-3.)