Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Horse Crazy (Book 1) - The Silver Horse Switch by Alison Lester -- Book Review

Young horse lovers are going to get a kick out of Horse Crazy, the new series by Australian author Alison Lester.

In Book 1, The Silver Horse Switch, we meet best friends Bonnie and Sam (her real name is Samantha). These girls know all the horses in Currawong Creek: Whale, Biscuit, Bella, Blondie and Tex, just to name a few. Bonnie whispers to horses and Sam always knows how a horse feels.

The Silver Horse Switch finds Sam's dad, Sergeant Bill Cooper in possession of Drover, a young brumby who had been captured and broken in. Drover is afraid of trains, but makes a good work horse for Bill, even though she won't let the girls ride her. Drover hates being locked up in the small paddock each night and she longs to be free to roam with the other wild horses.

One day, the girls notice that Drover has changed. She doesn't pace in the paddock anymore and even though she a bit afraid of the girls, she seems to like them. And then they notice that Drover's crescent-shaped scar is gone. This isn't Drover at all, but a horse that looks just like her.

How was the switch made? And how can they keep the horse's secret so that they can keep her?

Geared for readers ages 5 to 8, The Silver Horse Switch is an engaging story that will be enjoyed by young readers everywhere. Lester has created two girls who love and know horses like no one else in Currawong Creek.

Even though Currawong Creek is in Australia, based upon the illustrations and the storylines you could mistake Currawong Creek for an American mid-western prairie town, which makes the book appealing to a wider audience.

Speaking of the illustrations, Roland Harvey did an excellent job of bringing this story to life with his pictures. The inside cover has a colored map of all the places in town, including where each horse mentioned in the book resides. Harvey's illustrations are so charming and sometimes funny--like the time the new Drover pressed her mane right up against Mick Daly's face--that they truly compliment and complete the story. I'm glad to see that Harvey returns to illustrate the other books in this series.

Also included is a short list of Australian terms found in the book.

Whether your young reader is a lover of horses or just enjoys a good story with interesting characters and delightful illustrations, The Silver Horse Switch is sure to please.

I can't wait to read the next Horse Crazy books!

Title: Horse Crazy (Book 1) - The Silver Horse Switch
Author: Alison Lester
Publisher: Chronicle Books LLC.
ISBN: 978-0-8118-6554-8
SRP: $4.99 (U.S.)

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