Gib Rides Home [NOOK Book]


All Gib ever wanted was to be adopted, but life with a family isn’t quite what he thought it would be

Gib was sent to an orphanage when he was six years old, and with each year, he knows it becomes less likely that he will be adopted into a loving family. As kids get older, they are more likely to be adopted onto a farm, meaning a hard life of unpaid labor. And after seeing...
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Gib Rides Home

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All Gib ever wanted was to be adopted, but life with a family isn’t quite what he thought it would be

Gib was sent to an orphanage when he was six years old, and with each year, he knows it becomes less likely that he will be adopted into a loving family. As kids get older, they are more likely to be adopted onto a farm, meaning a hard life of unpaid labor. And after seeing a friend come back battered and near death, Gib is understandably worried.
When his turn for adoption finally comes, Gib is surprised to learn that life on the farm isn’t too difficult. His new “parents,” the Thorntons, are kind to him, and his job in the stables is fun and interesting. It is as close to the home of his dreams as he could possibly imagine. And though Gib doesn’t remember much of his past before the orphanage, as time passes, Gib realizes that his new family may be more connected to his real family than he ever imagined. This smart, touching novel is based on the life of author Zilpha Keatley Snyder’s father and his experience as an orphan in the 1900s.
This ebook features an extended biography of Zilpha Keatley Snyder.

Despite the harsh treatment he has endured at the Lovell House Home for Orphaned and Abandoned Boys, eleven-year-old Gib Whittaker manages to maintain his hopeful outlook when he is "farmed out" to help with the horses of a wealthy banker in 1908.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Inspired by her father's stories of his turn-of-the-century childhood in a Nebraska orphanage, Snyder The Egypt Game fashions an exceptionally atmospheric and suspenseful tale. As the book opens, Gibson Whittaker, who had been farmed out to wealthy Mr. Thornton, is being returned to the Lovell House Home for Orphaned and Abandoned Boys, against all precedent. The perspective moves quickly from that of the amazed boys to focus on Gib, backing up to his initial arrival at the orphanage six years before. Gib remembers almost nothing about his early years, but he is remarkably self-possessed, a virtue that sees him through the practiced cruelties of teachers, administrators and some fellow orphans although most other boys look on him with awe. When he goes to Mr. Thornton's Rocking M Ranch, his fear that he will be literally worked to death a tragedy that befell another orphan recedes as mysteries loom. What is Gib's connection to the ranch, and why is it that neither Hy, the hired man, nor Mr. Thornton's invalid wife will tell him much about his mother, whom they both knew? Snyder thickens the action with subplots involving Gib's marked ability with horses and his prickly friendship with the Thorntons' high-strung daughter. Snyder combines an ingenious beginning, which discloses an end to the interlude at the Rocking M, with a masterly rendering of a sympathetic hero to instill in readers an insistent curiosity about Gib's fatemost will want to devour this meaty novel in one long stretch. Ages 8-12. Mar.
Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
In a starred review of this story about an orphan growing up in Nebraska at the turn of the century, PW predicted that readers "will want to devour this meaty novel in one long stretch." Ages 9-12. (Sept.) Copyright 1999 Cahners Business Information.
School Library Journal
Gr 4-8Gib is six when he arrives at an orphanage in the early 1900s. He dreams of having a family, but discovers that the older he gets, the less likely it is for him to be adopted, and that most of the older boys are "farmed out" as cheap labor. At 10, that fate befalls him when Mr. Thornton takes him to help with his farm and his horses. Gib, who remembers very little of his life before the orphanage, is surprised to recognize the hired man as someone he knew as a small child. Despite having been warned not to ask any questions of the Thorntons, the boy slowly begins to piece together his early childhood as a neighbor of the family. Although the work is difficult, Gib is well fed, comfortable, and happy; he loves caring for the horses and has an amazing talent for working with them. Not everything is perfect, though. Mrs. Thornton is crippled and often ill; her husband is extremely cold; and their daughter resents him. Slowly Livy and Gib become friends as he teaches her to ride, but when Livy decides to ride the high-strung horse that caused her mother's paralyzing fall, Gib is blamed and returned to the orphanage. Kinder and gentler than Susan Beth Pfeffer's Nobody's Daughter Delacorte, 1995, this story has the pathos and hopefulness of Joan Lowery Nixon's "Orphan Train Quartet" Delacorte. In a book inspired by the life of the author's father, the novel delivers an engaging glimpse of history as well as a compelling story. With well-drawn, complex characters and a touch of mystery, it has surefire appeal.Janet Hilbun, Sam Houston Middle School, Garland, TX
Both the hardships of life as a ward of the state and the exhilaration of working with horses imbue the life of ten-year-old Gibson Whittaker. No one ever returns to Lovell House Home for Orphaned and Abandoned Boys once he has been adopted by a family, but the boys sadly learn that adoption is too often a euphemism for being farmed out-and mistreated-as indentured servants. When Gib leaves Lovell House and its new cruel headmistress to live on the Thornton ranch, he dreams of becoming part of the family, but also bears in mind the harsher possibility. Snyder has enlisted all the elements of an upstairs-downstairs family melodrama in her portrayal of the Thorntons: a home full of "disagreement and unhappiness," with a hard, unlikable overlord; his kind wheelchair-bound wife, paralyzed in a riding accident; their angry and sullen daughter; a crippled hired hand; a good-natured cook; and a seemingly severe governess-all of whom know the family secrets, many of which center on Gib's entrance into their lives. Naturally, it falls to Gib to tame Black Silk, the unruly mustang responsible for Mrs. Thornton's paralysis. Though the book teeters on the brink of sentimentality, Snyder invests her characters with enough dimension not only to save the story but actually to have us cheering her happy resolution.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781453271919
  • Publisher: Open Road Media
  • Publication date: 12/4/2012
  • Series: Gib Series, #1
  • Sold by: Barnes & Noble
  • Format: eBook
  • Pages: 256
  • Sales rank: 361,523
  • Age range: 9 - 12 Years
  • File size: 463 KB

Meet the Author

Zilpha Keatley Snyder (b. 1927) is a three-time Newbery Honor–winning author of adventure and fantasy novels for children. Her smart, honest, and accessible narrative style has made her books beloved by generations. When not writing, she enjoys reading and traveling. Snyder lives in Mill Valley, California. 
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Read an Excerpt

An Excerpt from Gib Rides Home

Winter melted into spring, and spring had begun to green toward summer,
when one morning at breakfast Buster came into the hall with a report
notice for Gib. The notice said that Gibson Whittaker was to report to
the headmistress's office at one o'clock.

"The office?" Bobby asked him. "What did you do now, Gib? And how come
the office, I wonder, instead of Harding's torture chamber?"

"I don't know," Gib said. "I guess it'll be the Repentance Room, but I
don't know why. What do you suppose I did this time?"

"I'll bet it's 'cause you laughed at the wrong time again," Jacob said.
"When Offenbacher was reading the chore assignments and she almost said
Bacob and Jobby. You know, when she said, 'Bacob and Job—er—Jacob and
Bobby will be in the laundry.'"

Gib shook his head. "I didn't even smile," he said. "I'm pretty sure I

"You must have," Jacob insisted. "Anyway, I think you're mighty lucky
getting sent to the Repentance Room instead of the laundry with Bobby
and me." He grinned. "I mean, since ghosts and stuff like that don't bother
you none, you can just repent a little and then curl up and have a nice
long nap."

"Yeah," Bobby agreed. "While me and Jacob are breaking our backs and wearing
the skin off our knuckles."

Gib grinned, too. "I'll be thinking about you and those old scrubbing
boards while I'm having a good long nap upthere in the Repentance Room."

He'd made that up to tease Jacob and Bobby, but on the way to the office
he did try to tell himself that the Repentance Room really wouldn't be
too bad on such a warm day. It was at least a slightly comforting thought,
but Bobby and Jacob and the weather and everything else faded from his
mind a moment later when he walked into Miss Offenbacher's office.

For a horrible moment Gib thought the man who was sitting in front of
Miss Offenbacher's desk was the same one who had taken Georgie Olson.
Like Mr. Bean, the man had gray hair and a lean, gray-bearded face. But
after the shock of that first glance began to wear off, Gib could see
that it wasn't the same man at all. This man's beard was shorter and more
neatly trimmed, and his eyes were wider and not so deep-set.

When Gib began to come out of his terrified paralysis Miss Offenbacher
was saying, "Here he is, Mr. Thornton. I take it this is the boy you had
in mind?"

"Yes, yes," the man said, getting to his feet and motioning for Gib to
approach. "I believe so." Putting his hand on Gib's shoulder, he asked,
"What is your name, boy? And how old are you?"

"G-Gib," Gib stammered. "Gibson Whittaker, sir. Ten, sir. Eleven in December."

The man nodded slowly and then asked, "Where were you born?"

Gib was shaking his head when Miss Offenbacher interrupted. "We've made
it a policy not to give full orphans any information of that sort. We've
found that in some cases it only leads to attempts to—"

"I see," the man interrupted. "That's quite all right. I'm satisfied that
this is the boy I'm looking for."

Releasing Gib's shoulder, he turned away, sat down at the desk, and as
Gib's mind reeled with fear and dread, and then the faintest echo of old
hopes, the gray-bearded man signed the papers that transferred to his
care and guidance one Gibson Whittaker, ten-year-old ward of the state
and resident of the Lovell House Home for Orphaned and Abandoned Boys.

From the Trade Paperback edition.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 5
( 9 )
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Sort by: Showing all of 10 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted April 27, 2006


    This book is an easy read with a good story. I read the book when I was in fourth grade, loved it, and am reading it again now as a tenth grader!

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted November 26, 2005


    I loved 'Gib Rides Home'! I sat on my sofa 1 Saturday and read it for 4 hours straight! I just couldn't put it down!

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted January 17, 2004

    Surprisingly Interesting

    I'm not quite finished with this book but it's actually pretty good -- I'm an 8th grader reading it for AR because I happened to see it and I thought it wouldn't b very good. But it's not bad at all. Not the best but interesting.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted July 12, 2002

    IT'S THE BEST!!!!!!!!!

    Hi I had to read this for summer reading and I loved it! Is there a sequel? I couldn't even put it down!!

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted July 20, 2002

    A totally outstanding book!!!!!!!!!!!

    I think that Gib Rides Home is such a good book I'm so Glad that my teacher gave it to me because it is such a good book for all the people out there who don't like this book is crazy because I think that this book is a totally awesome book that you wrote I'm so glad that you wrote this book.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 11, 2002


    This book is a must read for people who love horses and i am one of them! Read this book!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 12, 2000

    Gib Rides Home

    Gib is a heart-grabbing character who will rule your life until you finish his story...and when you do finish, you'll wish that you could find out more! I read this book to my son, and every morning after he brushed his teeth, he chanted 'Gib, Gib, Gib,' until I would read to him. It made it even more real that the author based the story on the stories that her father shared with her about his boyhood.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 12, 2000

    Gib Rides Home

    I liked Gib rides home because it excited me.I like Gib because he is so forgiving and he has a kind heart.So every morning after I brushed my teeth my mom would read it to me.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 8, 2013

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 21, 2009

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