INT (MS) Grades 3-7 Rating: 5
Miralee Ferrell, adult historical fiction author, pens her first entry in a series especially for horse-loving preteens.
In A Horse for Kate, Kate Ferris and her family move across their state to her late grandfather’s farm. She dreams of owning a horse. At her new school, she becomes friends with Tori, a Hispanic girl who lives nearby. When Kate and Tori discover a malnourished mare wandering alone, they try to find its owner. Could this mystery horse be an answer to Kate’s prayers?
In Silver Spurs, Kate has the idea to start a riding stable, but it isn’t as easy as she thinks. A bad storm threatens to cancel the show but they manage to get things ready. Then another rider from their stable – spoiled teen Melissa – is eliminated from the competition when her horse is injured. Can Kate overcome her dislike for Melissa to do the right thing?
Miralee Ferrell’s love for horses is evident in her stories. More character-driven than plot-driven, Ferrell’s books focus on Kate and the challenges she faces. Kate is a normal teen who struggles with her attitude, but realizes when she is in the wrong. She prays for God to help her, but the tone isn’t preachy.
Told from Kate’s perspective but mostly in a third-person, parents will welcome Kate as a role model. There is also a homeschooled boy who is a good friend, but not a “boyfriend.” Melissa actually befriends Kate’s autistic brother and is amazingly kind to him. Her brother is handled with sensitivity in the books, giving the reader a rare glimpse into family life with an autistic child.
Recommended for school and public libraries.
Carol R. Gehringer
—reprinted with permission, Christian Library Journal, 2015.