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TERA'S DAWN

Author: Susan K. Schank

Illustrator: Denise Seah

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Publisher: Purple Sky Publishers,

Material: hard cover

Summary: Having lost her mother to ranchers, Tera is determined to keep her freedom. She ignored Bronc's advice and went out on her own ... only to be captured. Her new "owner" is training her to be a plow horse, and she is paired with a mare just like herself. Will she ever be free again? This picture book tells the story of a horse's struggle for a satisfying life.

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

Recommended Age: read together: 4 to 9; read yourself: 8 to 12

Interest Level: 4 to 8

Age of Child: Read with a 6-year-old girl.

Young Reader Reaction: The cover illustration captivated our daughter, and she liked looking at the pages, even when we weren't reading the book. She selected this book each night for a week, but when it was gone, did not ask for it again.

Adult Reader Reaction: We can see why our daughter liked looking at the pages. The illustrations carry this book. The author tries to cover a lot of ground and give the horses personality, but with minimal context. Even the passage of time is hard to follow at times. We wish this was an early reader book with more "meat" to build out the characters and themes.

Pros: This is a picture book that pulls together the things kids love: animals, independent thinking, a rescue, parent-child love, and a happy ending.

Cons: Although this is a nice story, highly sensitive kids may be affected by some elements: Tera's mother is kidnapped, then Tera is kidnapped and separated from her herd family.

Borrow or Buy: Borrow. The illustrations make this a story kids will enjoy.

If You Liked This Book, Try: SHADOW: THE CURIOUS MORGAN HORSE   ERNEST and ELSTON (Ernest Series)   OMA FINDS A MIRACLE

Educational Themes: The summary offers several themes that you can build on with this story: family, adversity, and perseverance. You will need to draw them out. There are themes of safety, respect (for self and others), as well as problem solving that can be points of discussion, too.

Literary Categories: Fiction - picture book, family, animal characters

Date(s) Reviewed: January 2008

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