Monday, August 4, 2014

Review - "Horse Dreams" by Dandi Daley Mackall


Horse Dreams
by Dandi Daley Mackall
Backyard Horses series, Book #1
Published by Tyndale
160 pages
Target Audience: Girls, Ages 8-12
Genres: Youth Fiction, Christian Fiction, Animals
About this book:
"Fourth-grader Ellie James has a great imagination. She spends a lot of time daydreaming of owning a black stallion show horse and winning trophies in the horse show. But when the answer to all her dreams and prayers gallops into her life, will Ellie be able to recognize it? Join Ellie and her quirky family in their exciting, horse-loving adventures."
Ellie James is a fourth-grader who loves horses and dreams about owning a horse of her own. She daydreams and prays about someday owning a black stallion. Ellie daydreams so much about horses (including in class) that when she tells her teacher that she sees a horse outside the school, no one believes her and they think she’s just daydreaming again. But is she?

"Horse Dreams" is a cute horse related story for pre-teen age girls. In the book, Ellie learns that prayers aren’t always answered in the way we want them to be or the way we expect them to be answered. Another theme of the book is that we shouldn’t judge people (or in this case, a horse) by how they look.

Ellie’s brother Ethan is deaf and communicates with Ellie, her parents, and her friend using sign language. The title of each chapter is spelled out in sign language along with the English title, and the whole sign language alphabet is listed in the back of the book along with a glossary of horse related words and terms. I thought both made a nice addition to the book.

I like the way Ellie’s faith is portrayed throughout the book and how genuine it feels whenever Ellie is praying or thinking about God and her relationship with Him. Bible verses are also quoted at the beginning and the end of the book (1 Samuel 16:7 and Ephesians 3:20).

One thing to mention for parents is that in one part of the book Ellie leaves a horse show without telling anyone where she is going and walks alone to and from an animal farm a good distance away at night, which isn't a safe thing to do. Her parents never question her about this decision later in the book.

Also, one thing I wish had been written in the book was

This book was an enjoyable read and I think it is a great book for Christian girls, especially girls who like horses.

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