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“Once you learn to read, you will be forever free.”
Summary: Kirstie Scott, who is nine, lives with her mom (Sandy), and older brother Matt. Together, they own and operate Half Moon Ranch. Summer vacation just started, and so did the first guests. On the first trail ride of the season, a powerful thunderstorm flooded the trail and started a major rockslide. Kirstie helped the riders to safety but she and her horse were trapped. That same landslide trapped a herd of wild horses in a canyon; and the herd's leader was seriously injured. Kirstie calmed the Stallion, wrapped the wound, and helped the horse to safety. The next day, Kirstie returned with the vet but the stallion could not be found. Can Kirstie find the horse to help him? This is a middle-grade adventure about a young girl who lives for her love of horses.
Type of Reading: bedtime story, family reading, independent reading, reluctant reader
Recommended Age: read together: 8 to 10; read yourself: 9 to 13
Interest Level: 8 to 13
Reading Level: 3.9
Age of Child: Read by a student at Robbinsdale Cooper High School, New Hope, MN. This was part of our Use Your ABCs classroom literacy project.
Young Reader Reaction: I picked this book because it was a horse on the cover and it is about a horse. I thought the story was going to get better. I didn't like reading the book, but it was kind of good. There are interesting parts and it is both sad and loving.
Adult Reader Reaction: This is the first book in this series of six titles. It is an excellent story and readers will enjoy this horse mystery. Kirstie Scott is the young woman every girl sees in the mirror.
Pros: Believable characters, mystery, and an all-American girl combine in a story that will grab readers from the first page.
Borrow or Buy: Borrow, at least. Preteens and teens who like horses and mysteries will want to have this series handy.
Educational Themes: This book is enjoyable to read and would make an excellent bookclub choice. The story, characters and plot are believable and offer opportunities for discussion about choices, consequences, and responsibility. A savvy teacher or parent will recognize opportunities to discuss the predicaments and challenges that the characters faced in trying to do the right thing.
Notes: Flesch Kincaid reading level 3.9 The publisher donated a copy of this book knowing that we would consider it for review and provide an independent, unbiased profile. This book will be given to a nonprofit to help readers in need.