A Good Horse

A Good Horse

3.9 73
by Jane Smiley
     
 

View All Available Formats & Editions

When eighth grader Abby Lovitt looks out at those pure-gold rolling hills, she knows there’s no place she’d rather be than her family’s ranch—even with all the hard work of tending to nine horses. But some chores are no work at all, like grooming young Jack. At eight months, his rough foal coat has shed out, leaving a smooth, rich silk, like

See more details below

  • Checkmark Kids' Club Eligible  Shop Now

Overview

When eighth grader Abby Lovitt looks out at those pure-gold rolling hills, she knows there’s no place she’d rather be than her family’s ranch—even with all the hard work of tending to nine horses. But some chores are no work at all, like grooming young Jack. At eight months, his rough foal coat has shed out, leaving a smooth, rich silk, like chocolate. As for Black George, such a good horse, it turns out he’s a natural jumper. When he and Abby clear four feet easy as pie, heads start to turn at the ring—buyers’ heads—and Abby knows Daddy won’t turn down a good offer.

Then a letter arrives from a private investigator, and suddenly Abby stands to lose not one horse but two. The letter states that Jack’s mare may have been sold to the Lovitts as stolen goods. A mystery unfolds, more surprising than Abby could ever expect. Will she lose her beloved Jack to his rightful owners?

Pulitzer Prize winner Jane Smiley raises horses of her own, and her affection and expertise shine through in this inviting horse novel for young readers, set in 1960s California horse country and featuring characters from The Georges and the Jewels.

Read More

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Smiley returns to the territory and characters of her 2009 novel, The Georges and the Jewels, in this moving sequel. Opening on Abby's 13th birthday, the story centers on her relationship with her beloved eight-month-old colt, Jack (introduced in the last book), who Abby fears she may lose after her family's ownership of Jack is contested. The 1960s setting and the Lovitt family's ranch life (and faith) are visceral presences in the book. And when heartbreaking and very adult decisions need to be made, Abby's love of horses provides a steadfast anchor. Ages 11–up. (Oct.)
Children's Literature - Jody Little
Abby Lovitt lives on a ranch with her family in Northern California. Her greatest joys in life are working with the family horses including all the daily chores that go with horse care. Abby is very fond of Black George, a horse who begins to look like a natural jumper. Her father helps train Abby to ride Black George, as does Jane Slater, a woman from a nearby ranch. Soon Black George is leaping over four-foot jumps and Abby begins to worry that someone will want to buy Black George from her family. The family's newest horse is Jack, a colt born on their ranch. Abby is surprised when letters begin to arrive from a man who claims that Jack may have been stolen. She worries that she may lose Jack as well as Black George. Smiley clearly has a deep knowledge of horses and her love of rearing and riding horses shows through in her vivid descriptions of equestrian competitions. Readers who enjoy horse stories may appreciate these scenes. The overall plot of the novel, however, is weak and predictable, and it ends with a flat, unemotional climax. Reviewer: Jody Little
Kirkus Reviews

This sequel to The Georges and the Jewels(2009)is Smiley at her finest--detailed, nuanced, absorbing.Abby Lovitt's eighth-grade year starts out feeling less tumultuous than the year before: Her school life is more settled, her parents more at peace and Ornery George, a horse she struggled with, has been sold.Though she continues toride several horses a day,two in particularfill her heart: Black George,who will jump anything, and Jack, her beautiful orphan foal.Suddenly it seems shewill lose them both.Black George is so talented he's sure to attract an offer Abby's Daddy won't refuse, and, though her father bought Jack's dam in good faith,shemay have been stolen, which means Jack may have to be returned.Abby, though, is learning to separate the gold from the dross, to see her family, friends, the rich people on the horse-show circuit and especially her horses with unflinching, compassionate truth.Black George and Jack are good horses, in every sense of the word; Abby will be good, too.Rich, real and utterly engrossing. (Historical fiction.10-14)

School Library Journal
Gr 6–8—Eighth-grader Abby Lovitt loves caring for her family's nine horses. Her favorites are Jack and Black George, though she runs the risk of losing both. Black George is an excellent jumper, and after he and Abby win first place in a contest, he is sold for a considerable profit. The family receives a series of letters from a private investigator indicating that Jack's mother fits the description of a stolen horse, meaning that she might have been sold to them without the true owner's permission. The illustrations of horse equipment add some depth to the story; however, the plot falls flat. The level of depth Smiley uses to describe some details, as when Abby and her friends play the "Adverbs" game, will not engage most readers, and the laborious descriptions of Abby's riding experiences will only appeal to avid horse lovers. The side stories involving Abby's brother moving out because of their strict, puritanical father is confusing and the story of Abby and her friends acting out Julius Caesar might leave readers a bit lost. Instead of adding detail, these elements make for a murky, anticlimactic plot.—Adrienne L. Strock, Maricopa County Library District, AZ

Read More

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780375862298
Publisher:
Random House Children's Books
Publication date:
10/26/2010
Pages:
256
Product dimensions:
5.90(w) x 8.40(h) x 1.10(d)
Lexile:
1010L (what's this?)
Age Range:
10 - 12 Years

Customer Reviews

Average Review:

Write a Review

and post it to your social network

     

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

See all customer reviews >