Sally Loves Horses! by Jody Mackey

Sally Loves Horses!

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Mackey’s (Sally Loves…to Dance!, 2014, etc.) third series installment follows a young girl’s dream of riding in a rodeo.

Sally dreams of riding in the barrel races and practices her skills with her horse, Dillon, under the guidance of a horse trainer. After she has her first fall, she becomes part of the “Dusty Bottoms Club,” but the other girls at the ranch help her up and celebrate her efforts as the mark of a determined rider. Sally’s love for horses is unqualified and pure: “To her, their beauty and strength are magical.” And the girls, for whom horses are a shared and stimulating bond, form a sisterhood: “The riders at Ladysmith spend a lot of time together. They laugh and hug. They are always happy, and everyone really loves horses.” Readers will appreciate the supportive, promising advice of the horse trainer, which leads to the story’s ending: “Remember all your training. Ease into the barrels, sit hard for the turns, and then let him go.” This book invites young readers to indulge their passions for horseback riding and to learn some terms of the sport along the way; for example, footnotes define “Western style,” “trot and lope,” “curry,” and “leadline.” Charming pictures of life at Ladysmith Ranch appear on every page and direct readers through the story. They’ll also catch glimpses of butterflies, birds, a cricket, a frog, a rabbit, a mouse, and a wonderful white cat; it’s a pleasure to scan the scenes for these little creatures, as each one adds a touch of specificity and whimsy to the fairly simple presentation. Dark outlines surround bright, medium-hued watercolor-style images, which have just enough facial detail to distinguish Sally from her best friend, Cheza, whose grandmother owns the ranch. Distinctive markings contrast Dillon, the gentle and familiar horse, with Duke, a bigger, more spirited animal. The difference in the horses’ temperaments, in fact, is almost a story of its own.

A graceful, inspiring children’s book about horseback riding.

Page count: 60pp
Publisher: Champ Youth, Inc.
Program: Kirkus Indie
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1st, 2016


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