Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Book Review: Blackjack: Dreaming of a Morgan Horse

Be sure to read all the way to the end of this post for a FREE OFFER!

Blackjack: Dreaming of a Morgan Horse, by Ellen Feld

Reading level: Ages 9-12
Paperback: 235 pages
Publisher: Willow Bend Pub; 3 edition (January 2, 2007)
ISBN-10: 0970900287


Heather Richardson loves horses, but she has never owned one—except in her dreams, where a beautiful black horse haunts her. Suddenly, her life is immersed in horses when she has a fortuitous conversation with Chauncy, her new bus driver who just happens to raise Morgan horses. He invites her to come and meet them, where she finds that Blackjack, the horse she has been dreaming of, is real. Soon she is working for Chauncy in exchange for lessons.

When Chauncy decides it is time for Heather’s favorite horse, Blackjack, to enter a horse show in an under saddle class to give him a good chance of winning his futurity, Chauncy decides that Heather is the one who will show him. Heather must learn a new riding style, saddle seat, and help Blackjack get ready for the show ring before they can enter their first under saddle class together. Soon after the show, tragedy strikes and Heather has to figure out how to save her beloved horse.

Although it is written for 9-12-year-old readers, Blackjack is an endearing story that any horse lover can relate to, young or old. It is a classic tale of a young girl’s love for her horse helping her to triumph over any obstacle in her path—whether it is a difficult canter lead or an evil horse trainer.

Blackjack is a wonderful book for young readers, showing them what a little hard work and perseverance can accomplish. Ms. Feld also manages to provide a primer on horse care and horse shows, weaving this excellent information into the story so it isn’t boring or preachy. It is a delightful read, with just the right mix of action and emotion.

There are several books in Ellen Feld’s series, each of which has won at least one national award. In addition, Breyer selected Blackjack: Dreaming of a Morgan Horse to pair with one of their models! This is the first time they have done a pairing with a modern story—all previous such packages involved classics like Black Beauty and The Black Stallion. Congratulations to Ellen Feld on her tremendous success! We’ll learn a little about her tomorrow, when I post her interview.

FREE OFFER! I will give my review copy of Blackjack: Dreaming of a Morgan Horse by Ellen Feld to a random commenter for free! Just make a comment on this review or the interview when it is posted. I will make my selection at the end of February.

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