I did not plan to write about horses today, but as it turns out, that’s what’s on my mind. Luckily, horses and children’s books go together like cookies and milk so there is no shortage of books to write about!
First, an explanation of why I’m thinking about horses. Last night, driving through Hanover, Massachusetts, I saw lights in the distance and heard one of those fairground-style loudspeaker voices. The sound coming from the field, combined with the beautiful evening, inspired me to follow the lights to see where they led. I don’t know what compelled me to actually park the car and follow the crowd, but I did and this is what was going on:
It was awesome and made me feel so spontaneous in the “it’s summer” kind of way! It soon became clear that I had walked into a somewhat important horse show – at least the blue ribbons were really big and official looking. Since I’ve never been in the “horse world,” it was an enlightening way to spend an evening. Walking right up to some of these magnificent animals made me feel their hold over people in a way I had never completely grasped.
And here’s the best book-related part of the event. Leaning up against the fence, trying to appear as if I had a genuine understanding of trotting and cantering, I looked at the judge in the center of the ring and…it was a woman who works at the local public library! Of course, I know her from checking my books out and paying the odd fine, but I had no idea. Library people are the best!
About those horse books….so many books, so many fans! But here are the fiction books that are most often checked out by Inly’s 1st, 2nd and 3rd grade horse lovers:
My Pony by Susan Jeffers
The Wild Little Horse by Rita Gray (with pictures by one of my favorite illustrators, Ashley Wolff)
Little Horse and Little Horse on His Own by Betsy Byars
Bramble and Maggie (series of early chapter books) by Jessie Haas
The Horse Diaries by various authors (there are 10 books in this popular series)
I remember reading Black Beauty as a young girl and feeling so incredibly sad that even now, when I hand that novel to a 5th grade horse lover, I know they are about to have one of those reading experiences that will stay with them forever. And, speaking of sad books, we can’t forget about War Horse by Michael Morpurgo. But it’s so worth the tears. Books like Black Beauty and War Horse are the ones that make our hearts grow.
After last night’s magical evening, I may get a bumper sticker that reads: I Stop for Horse Shows!