- Pub. Date:
The Wind Dancers—Kona, Brisa, Sumatra, and Sirocco—are back with four more full-color illustrated titles sure to delight the imaginations of horse-loving little girls everywhere.
Puppy love abounds when an adorable little black-and-white doggie finds himself lost in the Wind Dancers' dandelion meadow. Finders keepers, right? If only taking care of a puppy by four (tiny themselves) magical horses were so easy!
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About the Author
Sibley Miller, author of the Wind Dancers series, is the pseudonym for an author of novels for teens.
Tara Larsen Chang is the illustrator of The Fairy Chronicles. Jo Gershman is the illustrator of The Nutcracker Ballet and The Night Before Christmas.
Tara Larsen Chang is the illustrator of The Fairy Chronicles and The Wind Dancers.
Jo Gershman is the illustrator of The Nutcracker Ballet and The Night Before Christmas, as well as the Wind Dancers books.
Read an Excerpt
Wind Dancers: A Horse's Best Friend
A Kona Story
By Sibley Miller, Tara Larsen Chang, Jo Gershman
MacmillanCopyright © 2011 Reeves International, Inc.
All rights reserved.
"Heads up, Brisa!" Kona called to her fellow Wind Dancer. "Catch!"
The tiny winged horses were flying above their dandelion meadow. Kona, the violet-colored leader of the group, was holding a bright red Jolly Ball between her front hooves. Coral-pink Brisa was bobbing with her head in the clouds.
"Tra, la, la," Brisa warbled, poking at a low-flying cloud.
"Brisa!" Kona called again. "Come on!"
"Why don't you throw the ball to me instead?" called Sirocco, the lone colt in the Wind Dancer foursome.
"Can't," Kona said. "We're playing ABC ball!"
"ABC ball?" piped up Sumatra. She was fluttering nearby, her halo of magic ribbons waving around her. "What's that?"
"We throw the ball to each other in alphabetical order, of course," Kona said. "Brisa goes first. She throws the ball to me, because K for Kona comes after B for Brisa. Then I'll throw the ball to Sirocco. And Sumatra ..."
Kona blinked at the sea-green filly.
"... you get the ball last!"
"But what if I want to be first?" Sumatra asked with a challenging nicker.
"You can't be first," Kona said primly. "SU-matra comes after SI-rocco. That's just the way it is!"
"Yeah, in your world, Miss Bossyhooves," Sumatra teased.
"Hey," Kona protested. "I am—"
Brisa and Sirocco had jumped in together to finish Kona's sentence. Then they dissolved into giggles.
"Hey!" Kona said again. She looked hurt, until Brisa swooped down to give her a nose nuzzle.
"Oh, don't feel bad," Brisa said. "We love you even if you are bossy!"
"And even if I don't necessarily want to play ABC ball," Sumatra added with a mischievous grin.
"And even," Sirocco chimed in with his own sneaky smile, "if you totally think you're the mom of us."
"Oh, I do not!" Kona sputtered. And she was just about to go on about how not bossy or mom-like she was when she heard something that stopped her.
It was a rustling, scampering sound.
Which was followed by a yap-yap-yapping sound.
And then by a round, furry critter bursting out of a thick clump of yellow dandelions.
"Arf, arf, ARF. Arf, arf, ARF!"
The creature gazed up at the Wind Dancers with bright, brown eyes. He reared up on his hind legs and waved his front paws. Then he lost his balance, fell over in a heap, and arfed some more.
"Oh!" Kona exclaimed. "Look! It's a dog!"
Her friends were just as enchanted as she was.
"Look at his shiny black-and-white coat!" Brisa cried. "And those sweet, floppy ears. And that adorable stubby tail!"
"Oh, I just love dogs," Sumatra said.
"Well, of course!" Sirocco agreed. "We all do. Dogs and horses go together perfectly. Like apples and honey. Or honey and oats. Or oatmeal and applesauce. Or—"
"Okay, we get the idea!" Sumatra said with a laugh.
"Come to think of it," she added, "every farm around here has a dog or two. Our big horse friends live with a Jack Russell terrier. And there's a border collie in Leanna's barn."
"Lucky them!" Kona said enviously. Then she swooped to the ground, put her Jolly Ball on the grass, and hovered in front of the panting little ball of fur.
"Hello there!" she said. "I'm Kona. What's your name?"
The dog merely wagged his tail and gave Kona's face a very sloppy lick.
Puzzled, but still polite, Kona pointed her wet nose toward her friends.
"That's Sumatra, and Brisa," she told their new friend. "And that gold colt doing loop-de-loops is Sirocco."
Halfway through a loop-de-loop—and still upside down—Sirocco grinned at the dog.
"I'm always glad to meet another boy," he joked. "As you can see, I'm surrounded by fillies!"
"Well someone has to stay right side up around here," Sumatra said, rolling her eyes.
Kona turned her attention back to the black-and-white dog.
"And you are ...?" she asked. The flowers in her magical halo perked up expectantly.
"Arf, arf, ARF!" the dog replied. He wagged his tail so hard that he flipped over onto his back.
"Ooh," Brisa realized, taking in the dog's baby-soft fur. "I know why he isn't talking to us! He's only a puppy!"
Suddenly, that puppy snatched up Kona's Jolly Ball in his pointy white teeth, scampered several feet away, then tossed the ball to Sirocco.
Whinnying with delight, Sirocco caught the ball in his teeth and tossed it back to the puppy.
"He may not talk, but he sure knows how to play!" Sirocco announced happily.
This time, the puppy tossed the Jolly Ball to Brisa, who threw it to Sumatra, who zinged it back to the puppy. Kona so enjoyed watching the little dog running around with the horses' Jolly Ball that she didn't even mind that nobody was throwing the ball in alphabetical order!
Many bounces, tosses, and happy arfs later, horses and dog all collapsed among the dandelions, hot, tired, and happy.
After a brief rest, Kona flew over to the panting puppy and stroked the back of his head with her nose.
"There's a good boy," she cooed to him. "You're so cute! But ..."
Suddenly Kona noticed something on the puppy's neck. Or rather, she noticed something missing from his neck.
"Don't dogs wear collars?" she asked her friends.
"Yup," Brisa answered. "Dogs have leather straps with jingly-jangly tags hanging from them. They're not nearly as pretty as my jeweled necklace, but they're still nice!"
"I don't think the collars are meant to be pretty," Kona pointed out. "The tags tell you who the dog belongs to in case it ever gets lost."
"Lost ... like our puppy!" Brisa suddenly realized with wide eyes.
"What?" Sirocco scoffed. He flew over to pet the puppy reassuringly. "He's not lost. He's right here with us!"
Sumatra lifted her head from the fluffy dandelion on which she'd been resting. Her green eyes looked troubled.
"No," she said, "Brisa's right. Maybe this puppy wandered away from his mother."
Kona felt like she could stroke the puppy's silky little head forever, but she knew she had to tear herself away to think about this. She fluttered high into the air above the other Wind Dancers.
"Maybe we can figure out where our puppy wandered off from."
Kona gazed across the meadow.
"From here, we're closest to the big horses' paddock," she reminded them. "Next is Leanna's farmhouse. And beyond that is town."
"Leanna's dog is a border collie, and she's black and white, just like this puppy," Sumatra said with confidence.
"Sure, but everything else is different!" Kona added, feeling a surge of joy. "Leanna's border collie is long-legged and fluffy with a big, brushy tail. This little guy has short, sleek hair and a stumpy little tail. And he's pretty squat. No, Leanna's dog is definitely not our puppy's mother!"
"She sure isn't," Brisa quickly added with a laugh. "She's not even a she, the dog's a he! "
"Well that settles that," Kona replied with happiness.
"The big horses' Jack Russell terrier is brown and white," Sirocco added. "She sure isn't our dog's mother!"
"So our puppy must have wandered away from somebody's house in town," Sumatra decided. "But there are bunches of homes there! How will we ever find the one this pup came from?"
Kona landed on the grass in front of the puppy and gazed into his brown eyes. He gave her another wet lick, then wiggled happily when she rubbed his chin with her nose.
"We don't need to find his home," Kona suddenly declared.
"What do you mean?" Sumatra said.
Kona felt a zing in her belly.
"I mean," she told her three friends, "I think we should take care of this puppy! We'll adopt him! People do it all the time!"
"But we're not people," Brisa reminded her. "We're magic horses!"
"Even better," Kona said with a shrug. "Like Sirocco said, horses and dogs are made for each other!"
"You do have a point," Sumatra said.
"And it would be fun to have another boy in the family," Sirocco added.
"And he is sooooo cute," Brisa chimed in.
Kona clopped her hooves together in excitement. Then she looked seriously at her fellow horses.
"Taking care of a puppy is a really big responsibility," she told them. "Our puppy will need to be fed and walked and bathed ..."
"Watch out," Brisa said to Sumatra and Sirocco with a giggle. "Kona's got somebody else to mother now!"
"That means less bossiness for us!" Sirocco replied with a sly grin.
But Kona wasn't listening to the others. She had fluttered happily into the air.
"C'mon, boy," the violet horse ordered the puppy sweetly. "Follow us! We're all going—home!"CHAPTER 2
Barking up the Apple Tree
Going home was easier said than done.
The magical horses always winged themselves into their house high up the trunk of the apple tree. But the puppy could only scrabble at the tree's roots.
"I can't believe we didn't think of this!" Sumatra whinnied. "Dogs can't fly! How are we going to get him inside?"
"Easy," Kona said proudly. "We'll carry our puppy the way every doggy mama does."
"Huh?" Sirocco said, looking confused.
Kona nodded at her friends, then hovered behind the puppy's head. Opening her mouth, she delicately nipped a fold of skin at the back of the dog's neck. Then she motioned the other Wind Dancers over with her tail.
Brisa, Sirocco, and Sumatra propped the dog up from underneath his front and back legs. Then—with the help of a little extra magic—the four horses lifted him off the ground and zipped him up to their tree house.
The dog just fit into the living room.
"Whoa!" Sumatra laughed as the puppy's wagging tail bonked her in the nose. "It's a little crowded in here."
"Oh, don't listen to her," Sirocco assured their furry guest. "Sumatra likes everything just so. But take it from me—I make messes in our house all the time!"
"And he means all the time!" Sumatra agreed with a roll of her green eyes.
"He's just lucky he has me to pretty up the place afterward," Brisa told the puppy. She popped a magic jewel out of her halo and onto the living-room wall to demonstrate.
Meanwhile, Kona just stared at the puppy as he sniffed around his new home, his cute black nose twitching and his tail thump-thump-thumping against the walls.
"That's it," Kona encouraged him. "Explore, explore!"
She turned to the other horses and explained, "Sniffing is how dogs get to know new surroundings."
"We know that," Sumatra replied. "After all, it's what horses do, too."
But the Wind Dancers had never sniffed quite like this!
The puppy was snuffling so hard that he sucked one of Kona's flowery throw rugs right off the floor! Then he sniffed one of Sumatra's ribbon window curtains and pulled that down, too.
Next the dog bounded into the kitchen and began gnawing on the wooden table.
"No, puppy! No, no, no!" Sumatra neighed, clopping after him.
The dog responded by wagging his tail so hard, he accidentally knocked Sumatra over!
"Ooh!" Sumatra cried in surprise.
Brisa tried to suppress a giggle as she told Sumatra, "At least he listened to you!"
She was right. The puppy had left the table behind and moved on ... to one of the jewel mirrors Brisa had placed on the tree house's walls!
"No, puppy! No, no, no!" Brisa cried.
This time it was Sumatra who giggled as Brisa cantered over to rescue her mirror.
But none of the Wind Dancers laughed at what happened next.
"Uh, what's that?" Sirocco asked nervously. He was pointing with his front hoof at the floor beneath the puppy's paws.
Or rather, at the puddle forming on the floor beneath the puppy's paws.
"No, puppy!" the horses neighed together. "No, no, no!"
"I think," Kona said, dashing over to grab the scruff of the puppy's neck, "that our puppy is going to be an outdoor dog!"
"You can say that again!" Sirocco said, rushing to help Kona hoist up their new pet. Sumatra and Brisa quickly joined them. As swiftly—and as magically—as they'd flown the puppy up to the tree house, they had him down on the ground again.
For the first time since the horses had met him, the puppy's stumpy tail stopped wagging. He even whimpered ever so slightly.
Kona rushed to pet him.
"Don't be sad," she cooed, giving the dog a nose nuzzle. "You didn't mean to do it, right Baxter?"
The other Wind Dancers gaped at each other for a moment.
"Baxter?" Brisa squeaked. "How did the puppy become Baxter?"
"Everybody needs a name!" Kona said.
"So you decided on his?" Sirocco asked.
"It's a mother's job to come up with a name for her ... puppy," Kona sniffed.
"See!" Sumatra said. "You do want to be the mom of everybody."
"Not everybody," Kona retorted. Then she ducked her head and muttered, "Just ... this puppy."
"Come on, Kona," Sirocco said. "He's our puppy, right? We should figure out his name together. "
"Well, what do you suggest, smarty-colt?" Kona asked with an eye roll.
"A boy dog needs a cool name—like Sirocco!" Sirocco declared.
"Or a beautiful name, like Brisa!" the coral filly piped up.
"How about a windy name," Sumatra suggested. "To go with our Wind Dancery ones."
"But how do we find one?" Brisa wondered. "Our names just came to us the day Leanna blew us out of the dandelion."
"So, let's do the same thing we did that day," Kona declared.
"Okay," Sirocco said. "That means we'll close our eyes and shout out the first words that occur to us."
"Yes, exactly," Kona said approvingly. "Ready?"
"Yup!" Sirocco said, squeezing his eyes shut.
"Me, too!" Brisa said, fluttering her blonde lashes closed.
"Me, three!" Sumatra added, shutting her eyes as well.
After a moment of quiet, Sirocco piped up.
"Got it!" he shouted. "Pudding!"
"Si-ROCCO," Kona scolded. "That's not a name!"
"What?" Sirocco protested. "It's the first thing I thought of. I must be hungry."
"You're always hungry," Kona said with a smile. "That's no excuse. Try again."
"How about ... Bow-tie?" Sumatra said, looping one of her magical blue ribbons into a pretty bow as she said it.
"Beauty!" Brisa offered.
"Carrot pudding?" Sirocco whinnied.
Kona stared at her friends.
"Wrong, wrong, and wrong!" she neighed. "Baxter's better than all of those."
She closed her eyes again and pictured her plump little puppy bounding through the dandelion meadow. She imagined him leaping after the Jolly Ball. She saw his silky ears blowing in the breeze.
"Zephyr!" Kona finally blurted.
Her eyes popped open, and she said the name again.
The adorable puppy panted and wagged his tail in approval.
The other Wind Dancers grinned, too!
"It's pretty!" Brisa voted.
"And windy," Sumatra agreed.
"And boyish!" Sirocco whinnied.
Kona smiled as the puppy—Zephyr—bounded over to her and gave her a big, wet kiss.
"It's the perfect name," she proudly said. And then, just to herself because she didn't want Brisa, Sumatra, and Sirocco to call her a bossyhooves again, she added: And I gave it to Zephyr, just like a mama should!CHAPTER 3
Early to Bed, Early to Rise
At dinner at the bottom of the tree that night, Kona proudly presented Zephyr with a plate of steamed parsnips.
He sniffed at the fragrant veggies.
"Arf?" he barked curiously.
"Try them," Sirocco encouraged the puppy. "They're great. See?"
The colt nibbled at the parsnips for Zephyr's benefit. When the puppy didn't immediately follow suit, Sirocco took another, slightly bigger bite. And another, and another—
"Si-RO-cco!" Kona neighed. "That's Zephyr's dinner!"
"Well, maybe our puppy just doesn't like parsnips," Sumatra said between bites of the oat cake she was eating. "Because Zephyr doesn't seem to be eating his."
"Maybe he'd prefer an oat cake," Kona said. With her teeth, she swiped away Sumatra's food and plopped it in front of the puppy.
"Hey!" Sumatra complained.
But Kona didn't seem to hear her. She was smiling at Zephyr, encouraging him to eat.
The puppy pounced on the oat cake with a happy yip! But after gnawing away on it for a moment, he left the other (slobbery, chewed-on) half untouched.
Kona shrugged and returned the oat cake to Sumatra.
"I guess he's not that hungry," Kona said.
"Now I'm not either!" Sumatra said, sticking her tongue out at the slimy oat cake. Once again, Kona didn't seem to notice.
Sumatra tried to put the slight (and her hunger) out of her mind.
After all, she thought with a sweet gaze at the puppy, it's not Zephyr's fault if Kona is a little ... distracted.
After dinner, the Wind Dancers snuggled with Zephyr in a bed of soft leaves under the tree. Each horse told Zephyr a bedtime story.
Sumatra wove a tale about a magic carpet of ribbons.
Brisa's story was all about a day of pampering at a beauty spa for horses, complete with carrot slices on her eyes and a mane-and-tail treatment!
And Sirocco read Zephyr his favorite recipe for Sirocco Surprise Cake.
Kona told the last story.
"Once upon a time, there were four magical horses, four big horses, and a Jolly Ball ..." she began.
As she told Zephyr about the soccer game that the eight horses had played with that Jolly Ball, she tied one of Sumatra's silky magic ribbons around the puppy's downy neck. She attached the other end of the ribbon to the trunk of the apple tree.
Excerpted from Wind Dancers: A Horse's Best Friend by Sibley Miller, Tara Larsen Chang, Jo Gershman. Copyright © 2011 Reeves International, Inc.. Excerpted by permission of Macmillan.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.
Table of Contents
Meet the Wind Dancers,
CHAPTER 1: Puppy Love,
CHAPTER 2: Barking up the Apple Tree,
CHAPTER 3: Early to Bed, Early to Rise,
CHAPTER 4: A Doggy Discovery,
CHAPTER 5: Hide and Seek (the Puppy),
A Puppy by Another Name,