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SAMPHIRE SONG by Jill Hucklesby


by Jill Hucklesby

Age Range: 10 - 14

Pub Date: March 1st, 2013
ISBN: 978-0-8075-7224-5
Publisher: Whitman

A dream-horse book overcomes its trope.

Fourteen-year-old Jodie, still grieving the death of her father, finds some solace in her work at a local livery barn. When her mother snags a regular writing gig, she uses it in part to fund Jodie's and her younger brother Ed's hearts' desires: for Ed, a radio-controlled airplane; for Jodie, a horse of her own. At the New Forest pony auction, Jodie immediately falls in love with a wild, barely broke stallion—an overused element in horse fiction that actually works here. Jodie, damaged herself, feels a bond with the horse, Samphire, and responds to him patiently, until they are galloping the beaches where she once rode with her father. Then disaster strikes: Ed needs an organ transplant, and Jodie's mother loses her job. Jodie sells Samphire, willingly, but with great pain; several months later, the family situation eased, she attempts to buy him back only to find he's been sold on. At that point, the story takes a turn toward the melodramatic. But the writing is lovely, the family life and affection among the characters real. Jodie expects no magic; she and Samphire heal on their own time. (But why does this obviously British book speak of dollars, not pounds?) 

A worthwhile addition to a well-loved genre. (Fiction. 10-14)