Yes, it's time for We Recommend again, which you'll be seeing a lot more of for the next while as we've let something of a backlog develop (sorry everyone!). Anyway, here's where you write in asking for a book recommendation for some young person you know, and we magically come up with the perfect book, and when you guys help out in the comments. Without further ado…
In response to my joyful praise for the most excellent librarian I know, a reader wrote me bemoaning her own misadventures in libraries. Like so:
So I asked for good read-alouds for a 7 year old girl who has recently fallen head over heels for…horses. She had nothing. Nada. (Well, other than to do a subj search in the catalogue, which, obviously, I could have done myself.)
So, never having had a horse phase myself, I just found the only book on the subject I knew the title of, Black Beauty, and took it home. We lasted about 3 pages–a horse had to be put down b/c of a broken leg. And it wasn't euphemized as "put down"–a man got a gun and shot the horse. One sentence, I think. She wouldn't let me finish the chapter even though it was only 2 more sentences.
So, my request: horse readaloud. No horses shot or even maimed. Her teacher read Belle's Journey to them (they are doing a horse study) and she liked that a lot (recounted the ENTIRE plot).
This, I feel, we can do. Right?
I mean, girls and horses. It's famous! It's so big, in fact, that it's hard to know where to begin. This is a read-aloud, so we can skip the "Breyer Stable Mates" who were so important for me and Chestnut when she was really struggling with reading in the beginning. Then there's the Billy and Blaze books, who we really loved…actually (wow, today is the day to link to myself repeatedly, apparently), Blaze might be excellent here, though they're short. But what I really thought of was my older sister, who as a kid couldn't get enough of pioneer country and horses and their wholesome ways. I am talking, of course, about…My Friend Flicka.
However, as I read the wikipedia entry, I must note that while all horses and boys recover, there is the sense that death is near. Plus there is some barbed wire. Pain. Injury. Yikes! OK. Phew. And let us all have a moment to reflect, in relief, that at least they didn't get to the part about Ginger when they were reading Black Beauty.
So here, here is what I am coming up with. Note: the horse gets sick at one point but DOES NOT DIE. Plus, afterwards you can watch the movie.
It's actually a pretty great story. And the little girl is heroic.
But I think I should really give way to the commenters now. Because there must be something more recent than this. I was a big horse kid, but I only wanted to read nonfiction about them, not so much the stories. Does anyone know the perfect horse read aloud? Tell us in the comments!