Children's Book Reviews

Book Review: The Island Horse

By Sandy Amazeen Apr 6, 2012, 7:43 GMT

Book Review: The Island Horse

It\'s the early half of the 19th century in coastal Nova Scotia, and almost-ten-year-old Ellie is adjusting to the recent death of her mother. But just when she finally begins to feel happy again, Ellie and her father move to remote Sable Island, a tiny, windblown crescent of grass and sand in the Atlantic. While her father works, Ellie explores the island, feeling alone and furious with her pa for ...more

Although Ellie is only nine, going on ten years old, she knows the soul deep grief of losing her mother to illness. Ellieís father quit his job to enjoy the last few months of her motherís life together as a family but paying jobs are few in the little Nova Scotia town where they lived. A job offer on Sable Island as part of a shore rescue team means Ellie must give up her friends, the only home she has ever known and move far from her motherís gravesite. Despite her fatherís efforts to make the transition easier, it is a wrenching experience that Ellie struggles to cope with. Meeting Sarah, a smart island girl about her age does nothing to dispel Ellieís gloom, frustration and anger.

Then one magical day, Ellie meets a beautiful wild stallion and feels an instant bond with the horse which she eventually calls Orchid. Ellie builds a tentative rapport with the stallion and his little band of mares and foals. To her horror, Ellie learns of regular island roundups that gather and cull the wild horses, sending the best to the mainland to help pay to keep the rescue station operational. Frantic to protect Orchid and his band, Ellie confides in her father and Sarah. Together, they work out a plan to hide the horses and in the process, Ellie begins finding some much needed healing.

Set in the 1800ís, this sweet story with charming line drawings deals with love, loss, friendship and healing in a way that kids can identity with. Young horse lovers in particular will enjoy this historical fact based story about Sable Island and the hardy horses that continue to make it their home.



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