Ghost Horses

Overview

Ever since sixteen-year-old Tabitha Fortune was a child growing up in Rim, South Dakota, she's heard stories about ghost horses-nightmare creatures whose giant bones haunt the sandstone cliffs near the Badlands. When paleontologist Dr. Phineas X. Parker announces plans to dig for these bones, Tabitha vows to join his crew.

But this is 1899, and the world has different expectations for young women. Tabitha's preacher father urges her to abandon her interest in science. "Pray for ...

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Overview

Ever since sixteen-year-old Tabitha Fortune was a child growing up in Rim, South Dakota, she's heard stories about ghost horses-nightmare creatures whose giant bones haunt the sandstone cliffs near the Badlands. When paleontologist Dr. Phineas X. Parker announces plans to dig for these bones, Tabitha vows to join his crew.

But this is 1899, and the world has different expectations for young women. Tabitha's preacher father urges her to abandon her interest in science. "Pray for a godly husband", he lectures, "not a godless education." Even Dr. Parker discourages Tabitha, saying, "Vertebrate paleontology is no place for a lady." That leaves Tabitha with just one choice-and being a "lady" has nothing to do with it.

Sixteen-year-old Tabitha, the daughter of a preacher who believes science is Satan's work, longs to study at a university and dig for dinosaur bones, but in South Dakota at the end of the nineteenth century such ambitions are discouraged.

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Editorial Reviews

Children's Literature - Judy Silverman
Young Tabitha Fortune, of Rim, South Dakota, has heard stories all her life of ghost horses-giant creatures who left their bones on the cliffs of the nearby badlands. Tabitha is fascinated, but it's 1899, and girls whose fathers are fundamentalist Christian preachers have no business even in town, let alone digging up pieces of dinosaur skeletons. Her father doesn't even believe in dinosaurs; he thinks the bones are evidence of Satan's work. When Tabitha finds out that a team of archaeologists are coming to the badlands soon, she knows she must work with them. Of course a girl can't go foraging with a group of men, but how about a boy? Tabitha finds an unexpected ally in her mother. Foreshadowing of feminism! Hill includes a look at the scientific issues of the times as well as the social ones. Tabitha is a likeable, plucky young woman, growing up with the country.
School Library Journal
Gr 5-7-This turn-of-the-century adventure offers few surprises, not much action, and requires a great deal of credulity on readers' part. Sixteen-year-old Tabitha Fortune disguises herself as a boy to get a summer job scouting dinosaur sites for a visiting paleontologist. She can ride a horse and shoot a rifle better than any boy in town and knows the Badlands better than anyone, but her preacher father believes women should lead quiet lives serving their husbands and God. He also considers evolutionary research and science in general to be the work of the devil. Even with the aid of the crusty old woman who runs the post office and the surprising support of her mother, Tabitha is able to effect her deception and achieve her desires too easily. Libraries wanting more books with strong-willed heroines will be better served by titles in Joan Lowery Nixon's "Ellis Island" series (Dell).-Jeanette Larson, Texas State Library, Austin
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780380729425
  • Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
  • Publication date: 3/9/1999
  • Pages: 224
  • Age range: 8 - 12 Years
  • Product dimensions: 5.13 (w) x 7.50 (h) x 0.65 (d)

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