A sweeping introduction to the wild horses of the American West, their past, present, and possible future.
Farley, well-known for her wildly popular middle-grade series Phantom Stallion, divides her subject into several parts, opening with the heartfelt story of Wild Horse Annie, one of the first activists determined to save wild horses from abuse and slaughter, and ending with the equally warm stories of several teens working for the same cause. In the middle, she covers the history of wild horses in North America, the instincts that govern horses in the wild, and why and how the horses are disappearing from the wild. While the book is nonfiction, Farley often assumes a horse's or person's fictional point of view to bring an expository section to life. Harder to follow are some of her middle chapters about conflicts between the horses and the Bureau of Land Management. Readers will struggle to make sense of the reason for the inclusion of other details, such as when a contractor legally capturing wild horses finds a small band that has been shot dead. Less emotion and more logic would have created a more compelling argument. Farley includes an author's note, glossary, chapter notes, a bibliography, and an index, but not the one thing young readers would want most: advice on how they too can help the cause of the wild horses.
Extremely well-meaning but not quite as well-done. (Nonfiction. 10-14)