Tuesday, February 9, 2016
Horses and Friends
Horses and Friends is a book series by Miralee Ferrell. I received books 1-4 for review purposes.
I began book 1, A Horse for Kate, with the intention of paying attention to the vocabulary and trying to determine if Hannah (age 8) would be ready to read it yet. I quickly got absorbed in the plot and forgot all about reading it "for her sake" and simply enjoyed the unfolding story.
A Horse for Kate tells the story of a girl whose family moves to a new area. Moving is always a challenge, but middle school is a particularly rough time, and Kate is 11. The story opens with her wanting 2 things: a horse, and a friend. Fortunately, she gets both in the end.
In Silver Spurs, the second book, Kate's family has turned grandfather's farm into a horse stables, and through a twist or two of fate, and some community support, ends up holding a horse show that gives Kate a taste for competition, as she receives her first ribbon, but more than that, helps someone in need and makes a new friend.
Book 3, Mystery Rider, is full of adventure. Kate and her friends solve a mystery, ride in a parade, and learn valuable lessons from an older woman.
The newest book in the series is Blue Ribbon Trail Ride. Kate and her friends undertake a huge project and deal with a really disappointing setback in a mature way. The series is aptly named, as the theme of friendship runs strong throughout all 4 books. First with Kate and Tori, and gradually they add Colt, Melissa, and Jake to their circle.
These books are fun to read. But this is not just a fluff series. It tackles some hard issues like racism and autism, and has some subtler themes like delayed gratification and personal safety. Challenges that the 8-12 year olds they're aimed at are beginning to think about. I look forward to Hannah being able to enjoy these books soon, and I'm glad I got the chance to read them so that I will be able to discuss them with her.
I would love to see author Miralee Ferrell either continue the series or do a holiday book with the same characters. You can't help but like Kate and her family and friends.
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