The Ghost Stallion

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Overview

I didn't have no hope of seeing the ghost stallion but I looked anyway. 'Course he wasn't really a ghost. He was flesh and bone, with blood running through him so wild that nobody tried to break him.

Since Ma ran off, Pa doesn't pay much attention to Mary Elizabeth. Maybe it's because she doesn't look anything like Pa, with her long black hair and brown eyes. Or maybe it's because of something that happened a long time ago—before Mary Elizabeth was born. Either way, she plans to...

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Overview

I didn't have no hope of seeing the ghost stallion but I looked anyway. 'Course he wasn't really a ghost. He was flesh and bone, with blood running through him so wild that nobody tried to break him.

Since Ma ran off, Pa doesn't pay much attention to Mary Elizabeth. Maybe it's because she doesn't look anything like Pa, with her long black hair and brown eyes. Or maybe it's because of something that happened a long time ago—before Mary Elizabeth was born. Either way, she plans to run away and be free—just like her ma, and just like the mysterious ghost stallion she watches for every night. But then a stranger comes to town, and Mary Elizabeth finds that nothing is what it seems to be.

This beautifully crafted novel explores a young girl's struggle to find the truth behind her past and the courage to save her crumbling family. In lyrical prose, Laura E. Williams paints an intimate portrait of a daughter desperately trying to find a place for herself in her father's damaged heart.

In 1959 in Oregon, thirteen-year-old Mary Elizabeth rides with her father to kill the wild stallion that is luring away horses from their ranch and ruining their livelihood, but she secretly wants to save his life.

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Editorial Reviews

VOYA
Mary Elizabeth's relationship with her father is strained and cold after her mother abandons her husband and two daughters. As they now share their home with Uncle Leory and Auntie, Mary Elizabeth searches for some sign of love or recognition from her father, perhaps a pet name like the one he gives her younger sister, Nellie, "little precious." When an enigmatic stranger arrives, offering to help catch and kill the devil stallion stealing Pa's horses, Mary Elizabeth questions her parentage. The stranger's hair is dark and curls at the tips like Mary Elizabeth's, and he looks at her intently when he thinks she does not see. He responds to her Uncle Leroy's probing questions without revealing anything about himself. Mary Elizabeth joins her father, the stranger, and Uncle Leroy on their quest to capture the stallion, willing to put own life in danger to save the ghost horse. After she is swept into the cold river and rescued by her father, she is at last able to answer some of her own questions about her real father. Pa, finally showing his love and respect for Mary Elizabeth, frees the stallion. Williams's prose is at once lyrical and brusque. The firstperson narrative puts the reader on Mary Elizabeth's horse and into her journey of selfdiscovery. Horse story fans will clamor for this book. With many themes, rich symbolism, and realistic characters, this title can be read on various levels, making it an excellent high interest/low reading level choice. Mary Elizabeth's eloquent voice brings to mind Karen Hesse's poetry in Out of the Dust (Scholastic, 1997/VOYA April 1998). VOYA CODES: 4Q 3P M J (Better than most, marred only by occasional lapses; Will appeal with pushing;MiddleSchool, defined as grades 6 to 8; Junior High, defined as grades 7 to 9). 1999, Henry Holt, Ages 12 to 15, 100p, $15.99. Reviewer: Nancy Thackaberry and Linda Benson
Library Journal
Gr 4-7-Mary Elizabeth, 13, feels closer to the elusive and dangerous "ghost stallion" than she does to her own Pa. The horse has been stealing away the ranchers' mares, threatening the families' already stark livelihoods. For Mary Elizabeth, the wild stallion symbolizes freedom. Ever since her mother left, the girl's loneliness has seeped deeper. Pa snaps orders at her while he dotes on her pretty, blond-haired sister. She senses Pa watching her, brooding over her dark hair. When a dark-haired stranger arrives, Mary Elizabeth connects him to the mysterious lock of hair she has found in her mother's locket. The man joins the hunting party and asks lots of questions about Ma, without volunteering any information about himself. Mary Elizabeth goes along with the group, secretly vowing to show the stallion mercy. When her moment comes, she is nearly hit by the bullet from her father's gun and takes a plunge into the Smoky River. Ultimately, Mary Elizabeth learns the truth about her past, the stallion goes free, and she and Pa realize what they mean to one another. Clipped ranch dialogue coupled with the girl's subtle moments of reflection underscore the rough times in her life. Readers will empathize with her strained relationship with her father, as quickly as they'll cheer her romantic notion of a stranger who will right all wrongs. The majestic stallion is the catalyst that changes Mary Elizabeth's thoughts into actions. A well-crafted novel that horse lovers will find irresistible.-Alison Follos, North Country School, Lake Placid, NY Copyright 1999 Cahners Business Information.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780805061932
  • Publisher: Henry Holt and Co. (BYR)
  • Publication date: 8/1/1999
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 112
  • Age range: 9 - 14 Years
  • Lexile: 730L (what's this?)
  • Product dimensions: 5.00 (w) x 8.12 (h) x 0.56 (d)

Meet the Author

Laura E. Williams is the author of Behind the Bedroom Wall, a Jane Addams Peace Award Honor Book. Ms. Williams lives in Avon, Ohio with her family.

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Customer Reviews

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Sort by: Showing 1 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted February 16, 2008

    A reviewer

    I love this book.It can be sad at times but its an amazing story about how a girl works to save a wild stallion from her dad and a stranger.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
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