Last summer, my kids all had the opportunity to get to know some horses at a local ranch. Can I just say they loved it? Really, really loved it? Growing up one of my father’s jobs was working with horses – so I spent some time around them myself – learning to ride – helping clean and groom as I was able. What an amazing time it was. What great experiences too! Since my kids have just fallen in love with horses, I was so excited to receive Mattie Richardson’s Horses in History Series published by Author Mattie Richardson/Appaloosy Books. I knew that this was surely going to be something we would all enjoy! We also received a PDF of the brand new Day and Night Enrichment Guide for the Day and Night book.
What’s really neat about these books is that they are written by and for horse lovers; they are meant for young readers and they were written by a young reader. Isn’t that fun? I think it is so inspiring for our kids to be able to experience someone else’s story like this. My oldest son dreams of writing and publishing a book; my younger ones love drawing and storytelling as well. Perhaps books of this sort can be a reminder of their dreams and a way for them to see that anything is possible. While this author is young, she has a host of talents aside from writing; she is also a musician and a speaker. Again, this is the sort of person I want my kids to look up to and perhaps emulate in some way. Already, my older daughter wishes Mattie lived close by so that they could be good friends.
We received the following books: Appaloosy, Dusty’s Trail, Golden Sunrise, and Day and Night – these are all historical fiction and can be read in any order. Does that make anyone else feel better about reading them? If I can be honest, and maybe sound a little crazy, some book series’ give me a bit of anxiety. Can I stay focused for all six books? What if one interests me more or less than another? Silly right?
Appaloosy was my daughter’s favorite book! As I read she relished being that one little girl who was able to tame an untamable horse, named Storm. He longs to be free and when the Nez Perce Indians give him to a young brave, they become forever friends. Then war breaks out. He is captured and taken to live with other men. At last, he comes to live with Faith, the only one who can ride him. But then he is stolen – Once he is free will he return to Faith? Or run forever free. My daughter loved this story and the bond that was written between Faith and Storm. What a beautiful friendship!
My boys both loved Golden Sunrise and reading all about the Texas fight for independence. We have read a bit about Fort Alamo, we know some of the story surrounding the history of Texas – how fun to read and experience it for ourselves through the eyes of Jared and Rueben. The boys loved reading about the battles and the feisty palomino Cheyenne. We even get to meet Davy Crockett and James Bowie for a time. Exciting and definitely something that left my boys wanting to learn more about the weapons, the fighting and the great state of Texas.
We also enjoyed reading about Dusty’s Trail where expert riders are willing to risk death daily for a wage of $25 per week. My kids were flabbergasted that once upon a time that was considered a good wage. Indian troubles, the Pony Express (that was a whole other trail we went down) so many wild runs Levi and Dusty make together. We learned not only about the development of mail through the years but also the value of the horse both for work and friendship. Together, through thick and thin, we see both young man and horse change and grow in such a powerful way. Who says you cannot learn great character from a horse?
Then there is Day and Night where we learn about the border wars during the time of the Civil War. Women who fought, the elephant soldiers were so thrilled to see, how so much was burned all in the name of protection of people. We meet Shiloh and Tucker – one with the US Army while the other is with a Confederate soldier. Since we have really only scratched the surface of the Civil War this was a great introduction, of sorts, for my children. So much that even I learned from these pages. We will certainly be learning and exploring this time in the history of our country so much more now that we have read this book.
We also received the Day and Night Enrichment Guide – to make this story all the more exciting! This is full of lessons in geography, vocabulary, biography sections and so much more to really enrich your learning. Each part involves questions specific to the section being read. Some of the questions encourage you to research the breed of horse, others encourage you to map out a section of the story.
What is a haversack and what was considered hardtack? As we read, we learn a bit more about what life was like as a soldier. My son was fascinated that the rifle soldiers carried then, often weighed ten pounds (and that wasn’t all they had to carry). Bayonets and bugle songs, drum beats (my oldest loved that – he is our drummer) we explored so much more beyond the pages of this book. Since I know we will be reading these again and again (and getting two of her other books to add to our collection) this is going to get so much use!
These books are recommended for ages 8-14 but trust me, these are so easy to read and so enjoyable, for any age. Especially if you have lovers of history in your family! I was honestly amazed at how well these were written, how detailed and accurate the stories were – I would gladly read these again myself! Be sure to read reviews written by other members of the Crew who had the chance to explore these stories. These definitely “won” our hearts!
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