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SHADOW: THE CURIOUS MORGAN HORSE

Author: Ellen F Feld

Illustrator: Jeanne Mellin

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Publisher: Willow Bend Publishing,

Material: hard cover

Summary: Shadow (a Morgan horse), like all children, are curious about the world around them. When the barnyard rooster describes all of the adventures that await beyond the farm, Shadow gets very excited. After a storm knocks over a tree and crashes the paddock fence, Shadow gets her chance and she heads off in search of the "magical pond." With the help of her new friend Willow (a Bassett hound) Shadow learns some valuable lessons. This picture book offers a story that emerging readers will enjoy.

Type of Reading: bedtime story, family reading, playtime reading, read aloud book

Recommended Age: read together: 4 to 9; read yourself: 10 and Up

Interest Level: 8 and Up

Reading Level: 5.6

Age of Child: Started reading with 5½-year-old child.

Young Reader Reaction: Our child hung on to every word. Like Shadow, s/he thinks of the world as a magical place, and is always searching for the "powers" that can help you fly! S/He could relate to the story on several levels, not the least of which was straying too far from home.

Adult Reader Reaction: We enjoyed this story. While the elements are not unique (curious main character, getting lost, finding a new friend), the presentation is wonderful. This is a more sophisticated vocabulary than many books that cover the same topic for this age group.

Pros: This book offers kids the opportunities to see themselves in Shadow. This goes beyond the couple-sentences-per-page model with a story that engages readers.

Cons: None.

Borrow or Buy: Buy! The story is great for pre-readers, and kids learning to read will find it an engaging, sophisticated story (read: more 'mature' than some of the first books they started reading).

If You Liked This Book, Try: THE LOST FEATHER   I RODE THE RED HORSE; SECRETARIAT'S BELMONT RACE   CASSIE'S CREEPY CANDY STORE

Educational Themes: There are several layers to this book. The plot makes it easy to talk about curiosity, friendship, fear, being lost. The story-telling rooster also opens the door to discussing the importance of telling the truth, as well as what could happen when someone believes a lie. If you want to take the book a step further, you can build your own plan for how you and your child should reconnect if you get separated.

Literary Categories: Fiction - animals, middle grade series, horses

Date(s) Reviewed: April 2007

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