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Gift Horse

Gift Horse

2.3 3
by Betty Levin

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Matt soon learns that his dreams of having his own horse are not as grand as they seem, after his great-uncle sends him a horse and Matt is forced to be responsible for its care and maintenance in a suburban community.


Matt soon learns that his dreams of having his own horse are not as grand as they seem, after his great-uncle sends him a horse and Matt is forced to be responsible for its care and maintenance in a suburban community.

Editorial Reviews

School Library Journal
Gr 4-6-Matt's dream of owning a real horse seems about to come true when his eccentric Uncle Oliver promises to send him one. Forty long pages later, with no real notice to the boy or his parents, a Norwegian Fjord horse and four bales of hay are delivered to his house. With help from his brother, sister, and best friend, Matt attempts to keep the horse happy and healthy in the converted barn/garage behind their house. Then they try to convince their parents that this is feasible in a modern neighborhood. Problems with zoning laws come to a head at the local pet show, when Matt is also forced to confront his horse's need for room to roam. A slow and awkward beginning, with an overwhelming number of undeveloped characters and extraneous events, distract readers from the overall plot. A rather abrupt ending, in which Matt finally realizes and resignedly accepts that his gift horse was only temporary, is a little harsh. This novel is not outstanding among the many stories of this genre where ignorant child gets horse, and both child and horse are fortunate not to be injured.-Christina Linz, Alachua County Library District, Gainesville, FL
Kirkus Reviews
The author of Fire in the Wind (1995) pens an engaging story about a boy and his horse. Matt's world-traveling Uncle Oliver sends him a Norwegian Fjord horse, and Matt is ecstatic. His troubles have just begun. Keeping the horse supplied with water is a major project, not to mention food, bedding, and exercise. But his biggest hurdle is convincing his parents to let him keep the horse. Matt enlists the help of his brother and sister, and eventually the whole neighborhood contributes to the satisfying solution. While the large cast of characters occasionally proves confusing, and the mechanics of the plot are somewhat transparent, this story includes some nice character development, interesting family and community dynamics, and a particularly appealing horse with a lot of personality.

Product Details

HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date:
Sold by:
File size:
2 MB
Age Range:
9 - 12 Years

Meet the Author

Betty Levin is the author of many popular books for young people, including The Banished; Look Back, Moss; Away to Me, Moss; Island Bound; Fire in the Wind; and The Trouble with Gramary. Betty Levin has a sheep farm in Lincoln, Massachusetts, where she also raises and trains sheepdogs. In Her Own Words...

"I started writing stories almost as soon as I began to read. They were derivative and predictable-as much a way of revisiting characters and places in books I loved as it was a means of self-expression. I don't remember when words and their use became important. In the beginning was the story, and for a long time it was all that mattered.

"Even though I always wrote, I imagined becoming an explorer or an animal trainer. This was long before I had to be gainfully employed. It wasn't until after I'd landed in the workplace, first in museum research and then in teaching, that I returned to story writing-this time for my young children. Then a fellowship in creative writing at the Bunting Institute of Radcliffe College gave me and my storymaking a chance. One affirmation led to another, and now there are books-and some readers.

"When I talk with children in schools and libraries, I realize that child readers are still out there. When they get excited about a character or a scene, a new dimension opens for them, a new way of seeing and feeling and understanding.

"Of course there is always one child who asks how it feels to be famous and to be recognized in supermarkets. I explain that the only people who recognize me are those who have seen me working my sheep dogs or selling my wool at sheep fairs. That response often prompts another query: Why write books if they don't make you rich and famous? I usually toss that question back at the children. Why do they invent stories? How does story writing make them feel?

"Eventually we explore the distinction between wanting to be a writer and needing to write. If we want to write, then we must and will. Whether or not we become published authors, we all have tales to tell and stories to share. Literature can only continue to grow from the roots of our collective experience if children understand that they are born creative and that all humans are myth users and storytellers."

Jos. A. Smith, illustrator of Hurry! by Jessie Haas, Ogres! Ogres! Ogres!: A Feasting Frenzy from A to Z by Nicholas Heller, and A Creepy Countdown by Charlotte Huck, lives in New York City.

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Gift Horse 2.3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 3 reviews.
New2nookDR More than 1 year ago
My kids begged me to purchase this book, finally I did...and we were disappointed...
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I tried the sample and boringggg. I don't usually stop reading a book but I couldn't even finish the sample!!!!!!!!!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago