Y’all know when there is a chance to review a book in our home, we jump on the chance. =) We have been reading the Mattie Richardson’s Horses in History Series from Author Mattie Richardson/Appaloosy Books. Formerly known as North Dakota’s Teen Author, Mattie has written a series of books your children and family will love!
Each book centers around the story of a horse (or horses) from history-of course as a mom and homeschooler, this greatly appeals to me! My history buff daughter, 9, also loved the historical aspect of the books, and how the stories were told from the horse’s perspective. Mattie has written books full of love, adventure, integrity, and strength. All characteristics we want for our children. I hold my book standards pretty high; we don’t need ugly words and harsh language to get a point across, and these books definitely held up to my standards.
The first portion of each book begins with a dedication, which sometimes offers some insight to the author’s inspiration for writing the book. Dusty’s Trail, told from the view point of a horse on the Pony Express, begins with an article about the Pony Express, first published in 1860. Next, the reader will find a section of Words and Terms You Should Know. This section is in each of the books, with a small variation. In Day and Night, Mattie has made Civil War-era Words and Terms Used in this Book section. Golden Sunrise offers a Spanish Words Used in this Book section. So each book has a great intro to the topic through a helpful guide in the beginning; my daughter often referred back to this while reading, as did I. Appaloosy gives us the Nez Perce Words and Their Meanings as a helpful glossary to better understand as we read.
The books are nicely bound, with a colorful paperback cover. Day and Night comes in at the thickest with 148 pages, Appaloosy with 125 pages, Golden Sunrise with 98 pages, and Dusty’s Trail at 66 pages (plus a few un-numbered informational pages). Some books have a few illustrations throughout, the text is appropriate for early readers (not too small), and the pages are a smooth, high quality, crisp white.
Appaloosy is about a horse who wants nothing more than to be wild and free, until he finds the love of a girl named Faith. But when he is stolen and escapes captivity, Storm must decide if he wants his freedom or to go back to Faith on her family’s farm. My 9 year old says:
Faith gives her locket necklace to take Storm home from the man who had him. She was only the 2nd person he let ride him, of all the people that had owned or ridden him. I like his decision and the way the book ended.
Golden Sunrise tells the story of Cheyenne and Jared- “Jared is a man who wants to marry Olivia; they’ve been courting for about a year. But then he has to go off to war to fight for Texas’s freedom. He rides Cheyenne throughout the war, and they are buddies. Cheyenne becomes friends with Davy Crockett, which was really funny. I won’t tell you the end, but it is sweet.”
Day and Night was my daughter’s favorite of all the books. “This book is about 2 horses, Shiloh and Tucker, they take turns having a chapter, so it can be confusing if you don’t pay attention. Tucker is the older horse and Shiloh is the younger sibling horse. Shiloh is lighter in color and smaller; he is gentle and gets very attached to people he likes. Tucker is older and brown. Neither of them wanted to fight in the war but Shiloh was stolen by a girl in the Confederacy, and Tucker got sold to the US army. You will have to read and see what they go through and if they find each other again.”
We also enjoyed using Mattie’s Enrichment Guide for Day and Night, along with the answer key. It includes: vocabulary, history, comprehension, creating your own stories, further reading, and even more! These include activities, coloring, developing character attributes for a story, biographies, geography, and the list goes on! This is definitely worth the small purchase price, and something you can integrate into your homeschool for a large range of ages.
Dusty’s Trail is about a boy, Levi who runs away with his horse, Dusty, to join the Pony Express. “When someone starts stealing the horses and killing their riders, Levi and Dusty push through more runs (I think 3?) until they find someone they can tell. Eventually Levi gets captured, Dusty gets separated from him … and you have to read the rest (haha).”
As you can see, the books were greatly enjoyed by my oldest daughter. They will be wonderful reads for my horse loving 5 year old. These books will be best understood by those 8 and up, but I think they can be read aloud to just about any age.
Mattie Richardson is clearly a talented young lady, she has more books coming out, that I know we will be reading! We have enjoyed the Horses in History Series immensely. There are countless way to use it as part of a homeschool curriculum, and they are wholesome books.
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