Wild Thing by Dandi Daley Mackall

Book description:

Twelve-year-old Winnie Willis has a way with horses. She can gentle the wildest mare, but other parts of her life don’t always come as easily. Along with her dad and sister, Lizzy, Winnie is learning how to live without her mom, who was also a natural horse gentler. As Winnie teaches her horses about unconditional love and blind trust, God shows Winnie that he can be trusted too. Readers will be hooked on the series’ vivid characters, whose quirky personalities fill Winnie’s life with friendship and adventure.

In #1 Wild Thing, Winnie’s fearful heart finally begins to trust God again as she tries to gentle the horse of her dreams, Wild Thing.

My review:

Even though this book is geared for younger readers, I have to admit that I learned a lot from it. I loved the way Mackall introduced readers to terms about horses and the equipment used to take care of them.  She also included an extensive glossary at the back of the book about different kinds of horses and a comprehensive diagram about the parts of the horse.  Readers also learn a lot about horse training and how to act around horses.  I grew up reading horse stories, so I was really surprised at how much I learned.

Mackall has a knack for writing amazing stories that draw readers in, while teaching them about animals, and teaching them life lessons.  In this one readers are drawn into Winnie’s world as she struggles to cope with the loss of her mother and the perception that her father blames her for her mother’s death.  This is one of the few stories where I wasn’t quite sure of the ending and I could imagine it going a couple of different ways.  I wasn’t disappointed in the ending, and I don’t think anyone else would be either.

After reading several of Mackall’s horse stories, I can safely say that I am a fan.  She does a great job with believable adolescent characters and animal characters.  Readers are immediately sucked in and begin to care about the characters right from the beginning of the book.  I can’t wait to read other stories in this series.

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