Backyard Horses by Dandi Daley Mackall is the first book in her Horse Dreams series for middle-elementary-aged children (probably most appealing to girls). Ellie James, the main character, is ten-years-old and in the fourth grade. Her younger brother, Ethan, is deaf, so she and her best friend, Colt, have both learned sign language in order to communicate more easily with him. This also allows them to send secret messages to each other in public places, such as in their classroom at school.
Ellie loves to daydream. She also loves horses. Her favorite daydream is about owning a horse, a Hamilton Royal Champion Horse. Some of the other girls at school have their very own perfect show horses, but Ellie is still waiting and praying for hers. Begging her parents and crying to them haven’t brought this horse into being, so now she’s trying prayer. Backyard Horses tells us what comes of that.
I enjoyed reading this clever story and wouldn’t hesitate to recommend it to parents looking for good books for their children to read. Positives: Though there’s a mean girl in the story, Ellie and Colt both handle her with patience and grace. When adults in the story make mistakes, Ellie is respectful and polite, yet stands up for what is right in creative ways. Ellie’s relationship with her family, best friend, and school teacher are all quite sweet. Best of all, Ellie learns some significant lessons about God’s nature and prayer. The message of 1 Samuel 16:7 is the subtle theme of the book.
I obtained this book on my own; no one sent it to me. I am choosing to review it for credit toward Tyndale’s Summer Reading Program.