SPIRIT HORSE by Ned Ackerman


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Running Crane's mother has married a member of the Kainaa band, and he still feels like an outsider. When he is unexpectedly chosen to participate in a horse raid on the Snake People he sees it as an opportunity to prove himself. The unrelenting bullying and hostility from Weasel Rider, another boy chosen for the raid, makes everything more difficult. But when the raid goes wrong, Running Crane finds himself lost on the prairie and driven by dreams to find and tame the legendary Spirit Horse. This story of the lives of the first people follows the conventions of the coming-of-age story perfectly. All the elements are in place: overcoming fear, self-doubt (and the doubts of others), and obstacles both natural and man-made. Running Crane must learn to survive, accomplish a great deed, defeat an enemy, earn the mentorship of an elder, and reach a moral and spiritual awakening. Reminiscent of Armstrong Sperry's Call It Courage, this is an exciting story with a richly satisfying conclusion.

Pub Date: April 1st, 1998
Page count: 167pp
Publisher: Scholastic