A Good Horse (Horses of Oak Valley Ranch Series #2)

A Good Horse (Horses of Oak Valley Ranch Series #2)

3.9 73
by Jane Smiley
     
 

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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

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.

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
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
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)

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780375862304
Publisher:
Random House Children's Books
Publication date:
08/23/2011
Series:
Horses of Oak Valley Ranch Series, #2
Pages:
256
Sales rank:
180,750
Product dimensions:
5.10(w) x 7.60(h) x 0.70(d)
Lexile:
1010L (what's this?)
Age Range:
10 Years

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.

Brief Biography

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

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A Good Horse 3.9 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 73 reviews.
TexRogers More than 1 year ago
I live on a ranch in Texas and love to read books about horses. I know how hard it is to have to sell a horse that becomes a great friend for what ever reason. In this book, Black George is a really cool horse that has awesome jumping ability. This story is a lot like others I have read where the daughter is in a big shot horse show to make more big money people want to pay high dollar for the horse that her dad wants to sell. Of course she doesn't ever want to sell Black George. There is the struggle of wanting the best for the horse; but, not wanting the horse to look to good. Then there is a problem with another horse on the ranch, Pearl. Turns out this is a suspected stolen horse from a big ranch in Texas. It is a cool story. You will love Abby and it has some mystery with the stolen horse case. It is an easy read and moves good. Sarah (Tex's friend)
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book is 175 pages long:) i loved it and cldnt put it down
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I read the sample and i couldn't put it down.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I have a paper copy of this. This is a great book for ages (7-12) who loves horses. I have horsrs and this is a heart touching book and btw im only 12!!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I judt started the sample and so far so good :)
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I have read this book before and i cried my heart out at one point!!!!!!! I totally recommend it im putting this on my wish list!!!!!!!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Good Horse by Jane Smiley is a must read. Jane Smiley is a fantastic writer she is a very good describer but knows when to stop. Abby Levitt lives on a ranch with her mom and dad she had a brother but he left the family about a year or two ago. She owns a foal named Jack and loves Black George. Mark Levitt is Abby¿s dad he is very strict and caring. Then there is Mrs. Levitt, Abby¿s mom she is very religious and almost wouldn¿t let Abby ride in the show, but she changed her mind. Sophia is a rider at the barn Abby trains at and she buys Black George. Jim Jarrow teaches Abbey how to train Jack to learn to behave. Abby Levitt lives on a Ranch she loves waking up to the rolling hills of her ranch and the sounds of the horses in the pasture. She is in seventh grade she has many ups and down at home, she writes a play and performs it and eats food she has never eaten before. She has a foal named jack. Rides black George and wins! It all started when she got a letter that said Jacks mom Alabama Lady was stolen property and you bought her. They want her back but she died. They realize that Jack was her son and she was bred with a very important racehorse. The people who wrote the letters come and try to take Jack away, but do they? When Sophie first got on Black George for the first time she fell in love, they bought him for a very big amount of money. So the Levitt¿s couldn¿t refuse. At first Abby was sad than she realized that he was going to a good home. Over all I give this book four out of five stars. I give this book four stars because it is a little confusing in the very beginning but then it starts to make sense soon. This book is very good and interesting. It has a very good plot and Abby has many ups and downs but she over comes them all. To like the book you have to be interested in horses or at least want to learn about them. The book is part of a sequel the first book is The Georges and the Jewels, and this is the second book in the series. Abby Levitt is a seventh grader who has many ups and downs. She loses some horses and wins some. She wins many shows with Black George. She learns she has a fear of something she has already done and she has done more and higher. She has experienced many things in her life that will create many emotions. She will laugh, cry, go to church, ride some horses, and just anything she can do to get her mind of things. Even though she doesn¿t want Jack to leave she is very supportive of her family and her friends. She is a very strong and passionate person. She loves all horses but is very responsible when she has to sell them. My final review for this book is very good. It is very descriptive and realistic. This book is a great book for any horse lover to read. I think this book is one of the best books I have ever read. I will definitely read more by Jane Smiley.
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VERY GOOD BOOK !!
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I read macbeth last month n im in 7th grade so... nyway good book but only if u ride n understand horses
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this was a great book and i totaly recomend it to anyone who loves horses and animals! i loved this book! i also recomend the canterwood crest series they are also really really good! :)
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