My history loving son was excited to receive the books in the Mattie Richardson’s Horses in History Series from Author Mattie Richardson/Appaloosy Books. These books were written by a young woman, when she was still a teenager. In fact, Appaloosy was written when she was only 13!
What Did I Review?
I received physical, paperback copies of the four books in the Horses in History series. The titles are:
- Dusty’s Trail
- Golden Sunrise
- Day and Night
I also received a PDF enrichment guide to accompany Day and Night. This is a 98 page PDF that contains enrichment activities such as:
- Vocabulary builders,
- Comprehension questions,
- Hands-on activities (like making Hard Tack),
- And more.
Here is a page of the enrichment guide so you can see what it looks like:
The author is currently working on enrichment guides for the other books in the series. They are expected to be completed in the next couple of years.
What Are These Books Like?
Written with students aged 8-14, these books aren’t easy to read beginning chapter books. Inside, the text is a little smaller than those simpler chapter books, and there is more of it on each page. While there are a few pictures throughout, there are not many. The pictures are simple.
As you may have guessed from the series title, each of these books examines a different historical event, told from the horses’ point of view. It’s a fun twist on the typical history reading, and one that my kids enjoyed.
What Are the Books About?
The simple answer to this question is horses in history. 😀
But, here’s a little bit more to help you learn more about these fun books.
The author’s first novel, Appaloosy takes place during the Nez Perce War, in 1877. The main character is Storm, an Appaloosa that belongs to the Nez Perce tribe.
A stubborn horse, Storm only lets his owner ride him. Anyone else who tries gets bucked off. Unfortunately, Storm is captured by white soldiers and sold to a farmer. Not liking his change of environment, Storm bucks even more. The farmer is ready to get rid of him, when his young neighbor girl, Faith, befriends Storm.
Storm is beginning to enjoy his new life (and Faith), but then tragedy happens again. The horses are stolen from the barn and taken away. Storm devises a plan, and helps the other horses escape.
Now he has a decision to make – the most important decision of his life. Should he go back home to Faith, or stay free?
Set in the early 1860s, American Quarter Horse Dusty is enjoying life on the family farm. But, an opportunity comes along one of the family members can’t refuse – a job with the Pony Express.
Dusty isn’t nearly as enthusiastic about this new life as Levi is. He rears and bucks, and balks. But, Levi helps him and eventually Dusty settles down, learning to enjoy his new job.
Until trouble arises…
It’s Northern Texas in the early 1800s. And a beautiful Golden Palomino mare named Cheyenne has to help her owner, Jared, in Texas’ fight for independence. A very curious horse, Cheyenne always wants to be in the middle of the action.
She meets James Bowie and Davy Crockett. But, will she and Jared be able to survive the Alamo?
Day and Night
The Civil War is the setting for this book. It stars two horses, Tucker and Shilo. They were separated at the beginning of the war, and their story mirrors the tearing apart of families that happened when brother rose up against brother.
One of the horses ends up with the US Army, while the other winds up with a young Confederate soldier.
As the war wages on, the horses learn more about war and its devastation.
How We Used These Books
Even though these books are in a series, they all stand alone. You don’t have to read them in any particular order. So, I had my son pick which one he wanted to start with. After reading the backs of each of them and looking through them all, he picked Golden Sunrise.
He read this independently during quiet reading time, a few pages each day. It was the hardest chapter book he’s read, and it took him some time. We spent time each day discussing what had happened and talking through any vocabulary words (or words that were hard to decode.
Since I knew he wouldn’t get through all of the books in the review period, I quickly read the others. I do plan on having him read the rest of the series, and will use the enrichment guide when he’s on Day and Night.
What Did We Think of These Books?
Considering these books were written by a young woman, they are well written. There are a few places where the stories could perhaps use a little smoothing out or additional details. There were a few choppy sections.
But, my son didn’t notice any of that, and I suspect most young readers wouldn’t. He was thrilled to learn more about how horses were used throughout history.
Here’s what he had to say:
The book was hard to read at first. There are Spanish words in it, which I had trouble reading. But, the story was interesting. I learned a lot. And I’m excited to read another one in the series.
If you have a child who enjoys horses or history (or both), definitely check out these books!