Chancey of the Maury Riverby Gigi Amateau, J.D. Jackson (Read by)
On the night that Chancey is born, a "fire star" gallops across the sky, a signal that a great horse has entered the world. But it will take many years of slights and hardships before the orphaned/b>
"The sentimental horse story is revived to magnificent effect in this moving novel. . . . Winds to a stirring finish." — THE HORN BOOK
On the night that Chancey is born, a "fire star" gallops across the sky, a signal that a great horse has entered the world. But it will take many years of slights and hardships before the orphaned albino will believe that the prophecy is truly meant for him. First he must find a home at the Maury River Stables and a girl named Claire who needs him as much as he needs her. Then, when his aching joints and impending blindness bring an end to their training together, he must start a new chapter as a therapeutic horse, healing people with wounds both visible and unseen. In the manner of a latter-day Black Beauty, Chancey’s observant voice narrates this absorbing story, filled with fascinating details of life at the stable and keen insight into equine instinct, human emotion, and the ineffable bond that connects them both.
Gr 4-8- On the night that Chancey is born, a comet streaks across the sky, a sign that a horse of great beauty and wisdom has been born. However, it seems unlikely that the Appaloosa will fulfill this prophecy. He is albino and his lack of pigmentation is not only considered unattractive, but also leads to serious health problems. He works as a school horse for many years, teaching children how to ride, but when his owner has a financial crisis, Chancey is left in a field and neglected for months, before finding a new life at Mrs. Maiden's Maury River Stables. In his old age, Chancey learns to love and trust again as he bonds with his new rider, Claire, a girl who has also suffered loss. When his deteriorating eyesight makes it impossible for him to jump in competition, he embarks on a new career as a therapy horse. He and Claire meet a young boy who has terminal cancer, and they work together to give Trevor the experience of being a champion. Narrated by Chancey, the novel has many details about equine behavior and horsemanship that lend authenticity, although there are a few awkward moments when these descriptions interrupt the flow of the narrative. However, the story is compelling, and the chapters about Chancey's work as a therapy horse are particularly moving, especially the one relating the culmination of his work with Trevor. A highly enjoyable read.-Kathleen E. Gruver, Burlington County Library, Westampton, NJ
Gr 4–8—On the night horse Chancey is born, a shooting star blazes across the sky. His dam explains that the "fire star" foretells a life destined for beauty, wisdom, and greatness. Told in the tradition of some of the best horse stories of all time, Amateau's tale (Candlewick, 2008) of love and loss is shown from the horse's point of view. Chancey becomes a school horse, teaching students how to jump, but when his owner's financial difficulties lead to a trip to the auction and then abandonment, he seems destined for a life of hardship. Chancey ultimately begins anew: first with a young girl who works to heal his physical wounds as he soothes her deep psychological scars, and later as a therapeutic riding horse. Amateau does a stellar job of describing the healing bond that develops between horse and human in this beautiful tribute to the comforting power of animals. Young enthusiasts will savor the extraordinary view into the thoughts of a horse. Details of barn life enrich the story. Narrator JD Jackson easily transitions between characters and captures Chancey's indomitable spirit. Purchase where there is a demand for horse stories.—Lisa Hubler, Charles F. Brush High School, Lyndhurst, OH
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- Product dimensions:
- 5.00(w) x 5.50(h) x 0.80(d)
- Age Range:
- 9 - 12 Years
Read an Excerpt
CHAPTER ONE- Prophecy
Tonight, the moon was high and full; it cast a light so pure that all fell quiet and still under its watch. Even I felt its pull.
A fire star raced across the winter sky, causing quite a stir among us. The younger ones were afraid and ran to their mothers. I no longer feared the wild streak, as I had in my youth. Instead I dropped my head and gave thanks for a long and good life lived here by the Maury River and in these blue mountains. I gave thanks, too, for the friends who have stood beside me through these many years.
When I was still a colt, I once saw a fire star with such a fury that it scared me greatly. I thought it was coming straight for me. I raced to the corner of our field and, unable to find my dam, became filled with an anxiety so invasive that I began to breathe too fast and thus found no breath at all. But I was in no danger. My dam came to me. She wrapped me in her neck, and I was no longer afraid.
My dam explained that when a horse of great beauty or wisdom enters the world, a star chosen especially for that horse lights across the night sky, announcing the new arrival. Dam told me that we should not fear the fire stars; instead we should drop our heads and say a word of thanks for life's many blessings. Dam allowed that occasionally the blaze is so bright and so near that it is frightening, as most things are if you don't understand them. She encouraged me then, and on many such occasions, to seek understanding in all things. I have remembered this for my whole life and only rarely do I feel afraid. When I do, I try to remember Dam's words, then find my breath, and examine that which frightens me.
After that night, I sought out fire stars in the sky. Most nights, I did not see any at all. Sometimes, in the late summer, it seemed that the night held so many that I quickly lost track and would fall asleep watching them, still standing in the field.
"Was there a fire star on the night I was born?" I often asked Dam.
Each time I asked, she would pull me in to her and recount the story of my birth.
"Oh, yes, Chancey. On your night, a star raced across the sky with such brilliance that all present knew you would grow beautiful, wise, and great. Something very special is planned for you."
For years, I believed her; I held tight to Dam's faith that I would become a great horse.
My owner, too, had grand hopes of me. She had planned that I would become a champion, and a beautiful one at that. She bred my dam, a fancy snowflake Appaloosa, to an identical stallion, certain that I would turn out the same, black as night with white snowflakes like Dam's blanketing my hind. Dam's markings were so vibrant that at her own birth she was given the name Starry Night, not for the sky under which she was born but for the way in which she was adorned with a midnight quilt of icy diamonds.
Yet I am very nearly the inverse of my stunning parents. I was born without pigment. Black stripes cut through the middle of all four of my hooves, the one physical characteristic I possess which proves to all that I am a true Appaloosa. Despite my lack of pigmentation, I believed my dam. I believed greatness awaited me.
Here now, in my old age, I comprehend what I could not before comprehend. I understand now that mothers are apt to wish on stars; every mother prays to heaven on behalf of her child. Sometimes, it seems that a mother's prayers for her child will never be answered at all. Yet is it not possible that one day, when that child is very, very old, he might see that his mother's prayers have been perfectly, beautifully answered all along?
CHAPTER TWO- Horse for Sale
That I had never been sold away was a blessing of immeasurable comfort. I had lived my entire life as a school horse here in this valley. Friends had come and gone, yet my comforts remained constant: the Blue
Ridge Mountains, the Allegheny Mountains, and the Maury River all surrounding me. These mountains, all blue to me, were home.
I was grateful, too, that I had lived a life of service under the care of a decent-enough owner. I had seen cruel hands on others enough that I was deeply aware of my privileges. Though throughout much of my life I
longed for something more—the greatness, perhaps, that my dam foresaw—I was content to have been treated fairly. My fortune changed, however, when my owner's fortune changed overnight.
The day before had ended the same as most days. We were led to our rooms, given our grain, and the barn was closed up for the evening. But the next morning, no one came to feed us. By the time the sun had moved high into the sky, we all were hungry and panicked. We kicked our doors until finally some of the students arrived to feed us and turn us out.
Monique, the proprietor of the stable and my owner, did not show. That was the first day since my birth that I had not seen her. Though I did not love Monique, I depended on her.
The students who came in her place spoke in hushed tones and whispered of the terrible and sudden death of Monique's husband. These whispers also spoke of a debt incurred by the dead man, a debt so enormous that it might force Monique out of her fine brick home and off of several hundred mountainous acres. In the second it took her husband to release his final breath, Monique had been stripped of her status as a wealthy and privileged landowner. There was no recourse left for Monique but to sell everything, including us horses, so that she could return to her native land, a country so far away that she planned never to return to the blue mountains.
CHANCEY OF THE MAURY RIVER by Gigi Amateau. Copyright © 2008 by Gigi Amateau. Published by Candlewick Press, Inc., Somerville, MA.
Meet the Author
Gigi Amateau is the author of the young-adult novel CLAIMING GEORGIA TATE. She lives in Richmond, Virginia.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
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I give this book five stars.Its the best horse book Ive ever read.it comes from the horses point of view.At first its kind of hard to undersand but its still awesome.I absolutely loved this book!!!!!!!!!!!
this book was good, it was like black beauty but yet...unlike. its more absorbing than black beauty, definitely. anyone who LOVES horses should read it.
Ambersprit noticed Tiger shaking, and bounded off with a quick, "Wait here." She swiftly caught a rabbit and brought it back for him. "Eat this." She settled down next to him. "HorseClan is a group of cats that live together, and take care of each other. We have a leader, and a medicine cat. We hunt, we train, and sometimes we fight with other clans." Amberspirit showed him a scar on her muzzle. "But it's worth it. You always have someone looking out for you."
Cloudripple jumped at Stormfeather's voice, startled. "Oh." Her voice was quiet, heavy with grief. "I didn't realize you were here." A tear trickled down her face and into the stream.
Hard read for young readers
I completly loved it!I'll never read a better book!
Sat waiting patienly.
this was really a cute book!! My 9 year old niece was visiting and we read it together. We both truly enjoyed it. The story being told from the horses perspective was great!
Even if you are not a real horse lover, you will still love this book.
I read this book a while ago and REALLY liked it! It is heartwarming and great for horselovers!!!
I thoroughly enjoyed reading this book. It is written as though the horse is telling the story, yet is very realistic and easy to put yourself in his shoes/hooves. You can tell that the author rides and knows horses, yet even readers who don't know horses in-depth can easily keep up. My only question is that I have never heard of an albino appaloosa...the descriptions of it sound like a few-spot appaloosa to me. Either way, the book talks about judge preferences and prejudices against fewspots/white horses when showing...this is true in the real world. This book is very appropriate for the age group recommended, but is still an enjoyable read for adults. Overall, I am glad I purchased this book and will probably read it again and again.
"Cloudripple." He gently brushed his tail over his Clan-Mate's back, his ears tipped back.