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Author: Lois Szymanski

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Publisher: Harper Festival, a Division of HarperCollins Publishers, Inc.

Material: paperback

Summary: Everyone loves telling stories around the campfire. When Larry told Shannon and Amanda about the legend of the Silver Run mine, the girls were hooked. They wanted to know if there really was a lost silver mine. The girls saddle up and head out, quickly finding clues that add to the mystery. They're convinced that what Larry has said is true, but then something happens that spooks the girls. Did it really happen or is it part of the legend? This is a chapter-book adventure series for transitional readers.

Type of Reading: bedtime story, family reading, independent reading, read aloud book, reluctant reader

Recommended Age: read together: 5 to 9; read yourself: 9 to 12

Interest Level: 6 to 11

Reading Level: 4.2

Age of Child: Read with and by a 7-year-old girl.

Young Reader Reaction: Our daughter picked this out because it came with a necklace. Once we started reading, though, she forgot about the necklace and got right into the stories. She asked for chapters every night. She even worked her way through the last few pages ahead of time, trying to read the end. She was hooked on the mysteriousness and the ghost story, too.

Adult Reader Reaction: At first we weren't sure about the book. We thought the cheap necklace was cheesy and set our opinions based on that. Well, we were wrong. This is an enjoyable read; Dad liked it as much as Mom. The story has enough suspense to engage the reader and keep them turning pages, but isn't scary. We'll probably look for (and encourage) our daughter to read other books in the Charming Ponies series.

Pros: Two adventurous girls, horses, a ghost story, and some mystery combine to engage young readers in this book series for transitional readers. This would be an excellent choice for reluctant readers or upper-elementary students who are reading at a lower level.

Cons: None.

Borrow or Buy: Borrow. If you have a horse lover, you'll likely be collecting the whole set. These are enjoyable stories for sharing together.

If You Liked This Book, Try: LADY'S BIG SURPRISE (Lucky Foot Stable Series, #1)   ROBIN: THE LOVABLE MORGAN HORSE   BIG RIG RUSTLERS

Educational Themes: This is meant to be a book for fun reading. That said, there are themes of friendship, overcoming your fears, legends and myths. The story also offers an interesting lesson in what can happens when a 'prank' goes awry.

Literary Categories: Fiction - animal characters, adventure, easy reader series, friendship

Date(s) Reviewed: April 2009

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