IF WISHES WERE HORSES by Natalie Kinsey-Warnock
Kirkus Star


Age Range: 8 - 12
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In this lovely, haunting novel, Kinsey-Warnock (In the Language of Loons, 1998, etc.) explores the adage about being careful what one wishes for. In Vermont in 1932, 12-year-old Lily Randall wishes that just once her family would favor her over older sister Emily, with whom she fights constantly. Emily always seems to get her way and, in Lily’s eyes, seems to be the more loved of the two girls. Lily longs to be far away from Emily and wants dreadful things to happen to her. Lily also dreams of having a horse of her own but recognizes wistfully that this wish too will most likely remain unfulfilled. Enter feisty Great-aunt Nell, a missionary visiting from India. Nell turns out to be the catalyst by which Lily acquires her horse, one she adores and trains to dive like the one in a circus act that mesmerized her. Then a terrible thing really does happen to Emily: she contracts polio and is confined to an iron lung. Lily is consumed with guilt, believing that she made her sister ill. The painful growing up that Lily is subsequently forced to do and the sacrifices she makes to try to atone are truly heart-wrenching. Readers will be hard-pressed to remain dry-eyed as the novel draws to its sad, but never maudlin, conclusion. The author writes with sureness and clarity, and the characters are memorable. (Fiction. 8-12)

Pub Date: Oct. 1st, 2000
ISBN: 0-525-46448-4
Page count: 112pp
Publisher: Dutton
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1st, 2000


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