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Horse Meets Girl

by Jessie Haas & illustrated by Alison Friend

Age Range: 5 - 8

Pub Date: March 27th, 2012
ISBN: 978-0-7636-4955-5
Publisher: Candlewick

A bored lesson horse finds understanding.

Some riders look for the perfect horse. Bramble is looking for the perfect rider. Fed up with circling the ring at her lesson barn, with jumping and with insensitive children, Bramble begins a campaign of passive resistance until the stable owner Mrs. Blenkinsop (a hard name for beginning readers!) puts her up for sale. But Bramble doesn't like the first riders that try her, either: One is too bossy, the other—horrors!—expects her to jump. Enter Maggie, who tries to figure out what Bramble wants. When Bramble goes too fast, Maggie apologizes—"My mistake. I didn't mean for you to go that fast"—and asks again. When Bramble shrinks from a snake in the yard, Maggie explains that it's really a water hose. And when Bramble doesn't want to be alone in her new stall, Maggie spends the night. Other than the improbable-but-cute ending, Haas' latest hits all the right notes, combining accurate horse information with the impossible longing of horse-crazy young girls. Friend's cartoonish watercolors, which appear on nearly every page of this upper-level early-reader, convey affection and sympathy for stubborn Bramble and sweet Maggie.

A story like a good lesson horse: easy, pleasant, workmanlike, well-suited to beginning and intermediate riders—er, readers. (Early reader. 5-8)