Gee Whiz (Horses of Oak Valley Ranch Series #5)by Jane Smiley
When Abby is confronted with an onslaught of reminders of just how little of the world she has seen, she finds herself
Gee Whiz is a striking horse, and only part of that is because of his size. He is tall, but also graceful, yet his strides big but precise. At the same time, he keeps his eye on things, not as if he's suspicious, but as if he's curious.
When Abby is confronted with an onslaught of reminders of just how little of the world she has seen, she finds herself connecting with Gee Whiz's calm and curious nature, and his desire to know more. Her brother receives a draft notice to Vietnam, her friends return for the holidays with stories from their boarding school in Southern California, and the wise, lovable Brother Abner opens her eyes with tales of his many years spent traveling. At the same time, her beloved Jack and True Blue are both faced with opportunites to broaden their horizons away from the ranch.
Will she let them go, with hopes that she might one day do the same?
Gr 5–8—In 1966, Abby lives on a ranch in California where her family trains and sells horses. In this fifth story about her, she interacts with the yearling Jack, destined for the track; Beebop, a rodeo bucking horse; and Gee Whiz, a big ex-racehorse that may have jumping talent and is very clever at opening closed gates. The teen's life revolves around her church, some activities with friends, and taking care of the horses. Various characters drift in and out of the narrative. An elderly man at her church, Brother Abner, shares stories with her about the world, which help her to start thinking about more than her present life. The dilemma of the Vietnam draft is briefly touched upon concerning her older brother, Danny. Abby is a smart and appealing protagonist, but the novel moves slowly; it is like reading a person's daily blog rather than an exciting or unexpected story. Even her relationship with Gee Whiz never seems fully realized.—Carol Schene, formerly at Taunton Public Schools, MA
Abby Lovitt's newest horse brings her a taste of the wider world. Handsome, intelligent Gee Whiz, recently retired, raced successfully all over the country, and Abby loves to imagine the things he's seen. Meanwhile, her brother looks to be heading into the Vietnam War, her friends Barbie and Alexis come home from boarding school, and a beloved church member dies. Abby's awash with change--but if that weren't enough, the man who co-owns her young horse, Jack, wants to start his race training, which Abby and her family can't afford. Smiley's Abby Lovitt books (Pie in the Sky, 2012, etc.) have always been especially anchored to time and place. Beautifully written as always, this installment is especially satisfying for the way it shows Abby's curiosity and sense of wonder naturally unfold. Also as always, the horse details continue to fascinate. Another successful visit with Abby Lovitt and her horses. (Historical fiction. 10-14)
Meet the Author
JANE SMILEY is the author of many books for adults, including Private Life, Horse Heaven, and the Pulitzer Prize-winning A Thousand Acres. She was inducted into the American Academy of Arts and Letters in 2001.
Jane lives in Northern California, where she rides horses every chance she gets. She is also the author of four other novels for young readers in the Horses of Oak Valley Ranch series: The Georges and the Jewels, A Good Horse, True Blue, and Pie in the Sky.
From the Hardcover edition.
- Northern California
- Date of Birth:
- September 26, 1949
- Place of Birth:
- Los Angeles, California
- B.A. in English, Vassar College, 1971; M.A., Iowa University, 1975; M.F.A, 1976; Ph.D., 1978
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