WIND RIDER by Susan Williams


Age Range: 9 - 13
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Theories of the domestication of the horse are varied and fascinating. This historical fiction is not. Williams very loosely places her protagonist, Fern, in the Eurasian steppes in 4000 b.c. with her nomadic family. Horses are only eaten by her people, so when she tames one, she keeps it a secret. You know the rest: Horse is discovered; Fern gets in trouble; horse proves its merit. Williams sprinkles the story with intriguing tidbits of daily life, some of which seem to have a basis in research, but many of which may be her self-proclaimed, “elaborate fabrications.” If she had done so more convincingly, she might still have redeemed this effort. Though Fern does not have a word for peeing (“I did not really need to return my body’s water to Earth Mother, but I had to get away”), she manages to invent the word “ride” (“A word came into my mind”), not having noticed that the author has been using that word for pages already. This, from the character who goes on to invent trotting, galloping, the bridle, the bit and the hobble. Horse lovers may attempt to slog through it anyway, but likely won’t get past the cover. (Historical fiction. 9-13)

Pub Date: Oct. 1st, 2006
ISBN: 0-06-087236-5
Page count: 320pp
Publisher: HarperCollins
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15th, 2006