Chasing Dream

Chasing Dream

4.5 17
by Dandi Daley Mackall

View All Available Formats & Editions

Feisty fourth-grader Ellie feels the need to prove to the world that her Backyard Horse (Dream) is worthy of attention. Ellie arranges a race to show off her dream. But her world is shaken when her horse gets sick and she is forced to realize that she could very well lose her Dream.


Feisty fourth-grader Ellie feels the need to prove to the world that her Backyard Horse (Dream) is worthy of attention. Ellie arranges a race to show off her dream. But her world is shaken when her horse gets sick and she is forced to realize that she could very well lose her Dream.

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
How in the world did Ellie James’s dream horse end up in the school’s library? But trouble at school is only the beginning of disasters for this fourth grader and her backyard horse. Ellie determines to show the world how great Dream really is. But with her eyes on winning, could Ellie end up losing everything that truly matters to her? Join Ellie on her adventure as she discovers the importance of family, friendship, and faith.
Sign Language inside!

Product Details

Tyndale House Publishers
Publication date:
Backyard Horses , #3
Sold by:
Barnes & Noble
File size:
1 MB
Age Range:
6 - 10 Years

Read an Excerpt

Chasing Dream

By Dandi Daley Mackall

Tyndale House Publishers, Inc.

Copyright © 2012 Dandi Daley Mackall
All right reserved.

ISBN: 978-1-4143-3918-4

Chapter One

Wild West

It's the most important race in the old Wild West. Ellie James and her speedy horse, Dream, step up to the starting line. Next to her, Cowboy Colt lopes in on Bullet, the famed cow horse. These two trusty steeds join fifty other horses. They're all itching for a chance to ride for the Pony Express. The winner of this here Wild West race will earn a spot on the Pony Express, America's new mail delivery system. Horses will deliver the mail across the United States (since mail trucks and airplanes haven't been invented yet).


The sheriff shoots his pistol. The horses are off and running!

Bullet and Dream take an early lead. It looks like they don't plan to give it up, either. Off they go—through the desert, into the mountains, across the wide-open prairies. Folks cheer as hooves thunder down Main Street. Riders gallop past the old saloon, past the sheriff's office, past the church with the white steeple.

Dream and Bullet are neck and neck as they cross the finish line. It's a tie!

"Hurray for Colt and Bullet!" the crowd shouts. "Hurray for Dream and Ellie!"


The Wild West fades back into my imagination. The dusty prairie becomes the tile floor of my classroom in Hamilton, Missouri. Cheers are swallowed up by the stern voice of my fourth-grade teacher, Miss Hernandez. She looks surprisingly like one of the cheering prairie women from the Wild West.

"Ellie, answer me, please. Are you or aren't you ready for it?" My teacher tugs on her ponytail, which is one of the best things about her. Her ponytail, not the tugging. Tugging means she's losing patience with me because she caught me daydreaming again.

"Uh," I begin. "Hmmm. Am I ready or not? Good question." I'm stalling for time because all is not lost. I'm looking for my best buddy, Colt Stevens.

Lucky for me, my teacher has walked over to my desk. That means Colt is behind her. One of the best things about Colt Stevens is that he took up sign language when I did. We learned it so we could talk to my little brother, Ethan. But sign language also comes in handy for helping each other out of trouble in the classroom.

I could sign What? to Colt, but Miss Hernandez knows a little sign language herself. So I just raise my eyebrows at my buddy.

Colt grins, then finger-spells r-e-c-e-s-s.

Recess? Cool. "You bet, Miss Hernandez!" I answer. "I am so ready!"

My teacher looks confused. She doesn't have old wrinkles like my parents do. But her forehead squeezes wrinkles into it anyway. "Really, Ellie? Well, good for you. I'll expect to see great improvement from you, then."

Great improvement? At recess?

"Totally," I say. Only my stomach is getting funky.

Colt is laughing now.

"I guess you've been studying, Ellie," Miss Hernandez says. "Because we all know that those fourth-grade math proficiency tests can be tough if we don't study, study, study."

Colt Stevens! Our teacher did not ask if I'm ready for recess. She asked if I'm ready for the state math tests. That answer is a big, fat no. I'd like to sign something mean to Colt for tricking me. Only his back is turned. I can see his shoulders bouncing up and down like he's riding Bullet at a trot. He thinks this is so funny.

I gaze out our classroom window until the green grass turns into the dust of the Wild West again. Then I back things up:

Bullet and Dream are neck and neck coming down the stretch. They gallop lightning-fast toward the finish line. It sure looks like it's going to be a tie ... until Cowboy Colt starts laughing. His shoulders shake. He topples to the side. And boom! Colt falls off his horse, landing in a soft mud puddle. Poor Colt is left behind in a cloud of dust as Ellie and Dream cross the Pony Express finish line.

Hurray for Ellie and Dream! The winners!

Miss Hernandez hands out more math homework. Our teacher is in the middle of another pep talk, explaining to the class how important those tests are to us and the state of Missouri and the whole entire United States of America when the speaker system comes on.

"Would somebody please find Ellie James?"

I blink a few times to make sure I haven't imagined this. I haven't. I'm in my classroom staring at the speaker like everybody else.

Slowly, kids turn and stare at me. Rashawn and Cassie look more worried than a pair of spooked horses.

From the speaker, a squeal, or maybe a scream, is followed by a shuffling of feet. There's a crash like a chair is being knocked over. Then I hear the voice of Principal Dwayne Fishpaw shouting, "Now! Tell Ellie to come right this minute! There's a horse in the library!"

We know how much God loves us, and we have put our trust in his love. 1 John 4:16


Excerpted from Chasing Dream by Dandi Daley Mackall Copyright © 2012 by Dandi Daley Mackall. Excerpted by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc.. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

Customer Reviews

Average Review:

Write a Review

and post it to your social network


Most Helpful Customer Reviews

See all customer reviews >

Chasing Dream 4.6 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 17 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I love these books!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This was a very good book overall. It was very thrilling and every chance i got i read it. The only thing is that it cost $4.99 and it only had 74 pages. It was a little disopointing that i paid so much for so little. Yes i would read it again.
kristen4mk More than 1 year ago
Fourth grade is almost over, and Ellie James is loving having her own "backyard" horse. She wants to do everything she can to make sure the world knows just how wonderful Dream is. So she creates the "First Annual Fourth Grade Horse Race" and focuses her energies (at the expense of her promises to her family, friends, school work, etc.) - but when Dream doesn't win the race, she begins to question her worth. This is a wonderful story of a girl trying to do the right thing but learning that God doesn't love you for what you do or how perfectly behave....He loves you because you're YOU. I completely recommend this series. Whether you have a horse-crazy girl in your house like I do or just want to check out a good story, please read these books.
iblog4books More than 1 year ago
I think this was my favorite book in the series. Ellie really has to face her own selfishness and realizes that she has put herself before everyone else in her life. The author does a great job showing the need to ask for forgiveness and the need we all have for a Savior (and without "preaching"). Again, I recommend this book to upper elementary girls without reservation. [5 stars]
amybooksy More than 1 year ago
Chasing Dream is a definite must read for young readers. My daughter really enjoyed it. I just love Ellie and friends , Colt and Dream. I thought this story is an inspiration to remind the reader what is important. There were even times that brought me to tears. We are loving this series! 5 stars.
SophiesMindset More than 1 year ago
Solid presentation of a good lesson Christian books for children can sometimes be painful to read. Either the book isn't well written, or the lesson is stuck in as an after-thought, or the whole story is cheesy. This book is none of those. I appreciate the ease with which this book is read and the well incorporated lesson. I checked this book out of the library, but plan on buying it for my daughter.
pinkgirlLS More than 1 year ago
Chasing Dream is the third book I’ve read to my girls in the Backyard Horses series. All the books read pretty much the same. They are fun horse stories with good morals. There are fun horse facts in the back and a chart to learn some sign language. The stories are a bit slow, but other than that, they are sweet stories.
AnotherBibliophile More than 1 year ago
I really enjoy this very charming series. Ellie shows her love for her horse, Dream, in sweet ways, and I enjoyed her quirks. I like the way she thanks God for the happy times as well as going to him when things are tough. The family and friends support her when trouble comes, as well. I like the sign language alphabet and the horse talk in the back.
Virginia76 More than 1 year ago
Ellie loves her horse, Dream, even though a girl at school makes fun of her. Ellie wants everyone to know her horse is the best, so she organizes a horse race. I liked this book about Ellie and her "backyard horse". Ellie seems like a typical fourth grader, just a horse crazy one who daydreams about horses constantly.
J4Life5 More than 1 year ago
I'm glad the author continued Ellie's story in this second book in the series. If you are a young or young at heart horse lover, you will enjoy this story. However, not only does this book offer a nice horse story, but it also teaches a lesson of following through on promises, making time for what is important, and forgiveness and mercy. Ellie learns that even when she makes mistakes and fails, her family and God still love her. I can't wait to read the next book in the series!
Nicnac63 More than 1 year ago
Chasing Dream is a fun read for young (2nd/3rd grade) horse lovers. The heroine, Ellie James, is a spunky main character. This book displays good examples of how God is with you in both good times and rough times.   As in the first of the series, Horse Dreams, the heroine loves horses and wants to prove how great Dream is. She is relatable and displays valuable character-building traits. A charming adventure with a satisfying ending.
lmbartelt More than 1 year ago
This is another of the Backyard Horses series. Ellie is feeling a little insecure about her backyard horse so she sets out to prove that her horse is just as good as her friends' horses. Then she discovers something that puts everything into perspective. An easy, enjoyable read with good lessons for kids and adults alike. I love Ellie's family and author Dandi Daley Mackall certainly captures the voice of an elementary-aged child. I almost can't wait for my daughter to be old enough for these books. Almost.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
hannah97 More than 1 year ago
Chasing Dream by Dandi Daley Mackall is a great book and easy read. This book is definitely written for younger readers but readers of all ages will enjoy the story and love its Christian values. A must read if you’ve already read the first book in this series.
ladybugofthree More than 1 year ago
If you read the first book in this series, Horse Dreams, you'll want to make sure you continue on in this series! These books are a great read for your kids! I absolutely love them!
Louisa_May More than 1 year ago
Backyard Horses was exactly the series I was looking for for my daughters, who love Jesus, love horses, and are in 2nd grade. Miss Mackall also wrote a series for older readers called "Winnie the Horse Gentler" and I tried that first but I'd recommend it for middle school students and up. Besides being harder to read, those books sometimes deal with harder issues that wouldn't be understandable by anyone younger than pre-teen. Backyard Horses, however, is a fairly new series and is written at around a 2nd/3rd grade reading level. Love, love, love this series! My daughters love Ellie, the heroine of the story! Ellie is a sweet, oftentimes feisty, day-dreaming 4th grader. In the first book, she often day-dreamed about her own horse. She did an "science" experiment... begged, cried, and prayed for a horse of her own. God answered that prayer and brought her a palomino horse she named Dream, hence her new horse's name and this books title "Chasing Dream". Because it's a continuing story, I recommend reading the first and second books but you definitely don't have to do that in order to enjoy Chasing Dream. I highly recommend this book to elementary school children. It's filled with a good story, important lessons, and a little girl who puts her hope in God. I highly recommend Chasing Dream as well as Horse Dreams, Cowboy Colt, and Nightmare, the others in the series. By the way, you can earn this book for free by participating in Tyndale's Summer Reading Program through the end of August!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I love this book