Unlikely child and abandoned equine persevere to show-ring success.
It's hardly a new story. When 13-year-old Jordan McKenzie sees a beautiful but lame draft mare about to be sold for meat at an auction, she defies her mother and buys it. Jordan has next to no experience with horses, let alone lame ones or drafts trained to drive, but before the week is out she's declared to the horse's former owner that she and Star Gazer are going to be the pulling champions at the county fair in three months' time. And, of course, they are, and their victory means that Jordan can keep Star forever. But knowing how the book will end before it properly begins doesn't completely eradicate the charm of Platt's latest. Draft horses are underrepresented in literature, and Jordan's ignorance offers plenty of scope for educating readers too. The Mennonite characters who help Jordan are interesting, if drawn flat, and the story moves at a steady clip.
The result should please most horse-crazy middle-school girls, all of whom dream of the day when they attend a horse auction with money in their hands—but next time, please, can we have a different plot? (Fiction. 8-12)