Publisher: Kids Can Press, Ltd.
Pages: 160 pgs
Source: Received a copy for review
Genre: Grades 2 - 5, Animals, Historical Fiction
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 making them leave their beloved home. Even meeting a spirited island girl named Sarah does little to dispel her anger and grief. Then one afternoon, Ellie encounters a wild stallion grazing on the dunes, and slowly forges a secret connection with the beautiful horse she names Orchid. But Ellie soon learns that Orchid and his family are threatened, and it may be up to her to save them. Based on historical fact, this early chapter book is a touching exploration of loss and loneliness and the redemptive power of love and friendship
This is definitely a book for anyone who loves horses, or historical fiction. There are so many themes here; moving on when things get tough, moving past loss and grief, facing hardships, and most importantly, friendship. Ellie was a very believable character. You could see and understand her feelings. I don’t think I would have wanted to leave the only home I’d ever known, especially if my mother had been buried there. I enjoyed learning about Sable Island. I had never heard of it and so learning some history is always a good thing for me. I look forward to passing this on to students who will really enjoy this book.
Susan Hughes is an award winning author whose books include Case Closed?, No Girls Allowed, Earth to Audrey and Virginia. She has loved horses since she was a child and has long dreamed of setting a story on Sable Island. Susan lives in Toronto, Ontario.