Gee Whiz: Book Five of the Horses of Oak Valley Ranch

( 5 )

Overview

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 ...

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Gee Whiz: Book Five of the Horses of Oak Valley Ranch

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Overview

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?  

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Editorial Reviews

VOYA, February 2014 (Vol. 36, No. 6) - Jane Van Wiemokly
When this series began in 2009, Abby was in seventh grade. In this fifth book, she is a ninth grader in 1960s California, living on her family’s horse farm where they buy, train, and sell horses. One of Abby’s problems is her ambivalence in selling “her” horses after she becomes attached while training them. Most of this story deals with her high school friends, giving riding lessons, horse exercising, and follow-up visits to other horse-training facilities. The title horse, Gee Whiz, is curious and intelligent but plays more of a role toward the end. Throughout is the worry about Abby’s brother Danny’s scheduled draft notice and physical exam for Vietnam. Smiley is adept at portraying daily life, seemingly as if nothing eventful is going on, but subtly the reader can feel the tensions underneath. What will happen with Danny? Should Abby sell her horse Jack or invest in retraining him as a racehorse? What will become of Gee Whiz if/when her brother goes to Vietnam? For someone who has never left home, Abby wonders what the rest of the world is like. One elderly church member begins to open her eyes when he relates stories about his past traveling around the country. Her mind opens to possibilities. This gently written story may lack enough punch for some readers, but horse-mad girls and those who have read Smiley’s previous books in the series will want this one. Reviewer: Jane Van Wiemokly; Ages 11 to 15.
Kirkus Reviews
2013-08-15
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)
School Library Journal
12/01/2013
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
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780375869693
  • Publisher: Random House Children's Books
  • Publication date: 10/8/2013
  • Series: Horses of Oak Valley Ranch Series
  • Pages: 272
  • Sales rank: 437,229
  • Age range: 10 years
  • Product dimensions: 5.80 (w) x 8.40 (h) x 1.00 (d)

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.

Biography

Jane smiley is the author of many novels, including A Thousand Acres, which won the Pulitzer Prize, and Horse Heaven. She lives in Northern California. In 2001, she was inducted into the American Academy of Arts and Letters.

Author biography courtesy of Random House, Inc.

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    1. Hometown:
      Northern California
    1. Date of Birth:
      September 26, 1949
    2. Place of Birth:
      Los Angeles, California
    1. Education:
      B.A. in English, Vassar College, 1971; M.A., Iowa University, 1975; M.F.A, 1976; Ph.D., 1978

Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 5 )
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Sort by: Showing all of 5 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted December 2, 2013

    It was such a good book

    It was amazing jane smiley really broight it all I love this book and the others in the series

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 22, 2014

    Like it

    Not my favorite Smiely, but a good one.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 19, 2013

    Book

    I REAAAALLLLLLLY hope it good the other books were great

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 11, 2014

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted October 23, 2013

    No text was provided for this review.

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