THE WHITE STALLION by Elizabeth Shub


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In easy-reading words and format, a westward wagon-train anecdote that has the ring of a genuine family legend. As little Gretchen's grandmother has heard it from her grandmother, also Gretchen, who was ""as young as you are when it happened"" in 1845, the train of three wagons stops to repair an axle and the mare Anna wanders off, attracted by a herd of wild horses, with sacks of cornmeal and the sleeping Gretchen tied to her back. Away from the trail, wild mares nibble at the meal, also nibbling Gretchen's leg; and when she cries, unable to move out of their way, a stallion appears ""out of nowhere"" to shoo off the mares and bite through the ropes confining Gretchen. Anna then wanders off with the horses, leaving the frightened Gretchen alone overnight; but the old mare returns in the morning, and once more the stallion comes to Gretchen's aid, lifting her onto Anna's back and prodding the old mare until she starts off for the waiting wagon train. ""Your great-great-grandmother bore the scars of the wild mare bites for the rest of her life,"" the little Gretchen's grandmother tells her now. Isadora's pen-and-ink drawings give the incidents the mood and lines of old etchings and give the framing family groupings the dotted, fuzzy look of old photos. This is a bit precious, but it works here to establish a long-ago, memory-filtered atmosphere, and it casts a dreamlike light that adds dimension to the adventure.

Pub Date: Sept. 20th, 1982
Publisher: Greenwillow