Horse Powerby Ann Walsh
Once again Callie is forced to take part in her mom's latest crusade. They head into ranch country to camp—bloodthirsty mosquitoes, stinky outhouses and all—at a protest to save a rural school. Callie's grandmother shows up with her biker buddies and the singing grannies. Callie hates camping and wants nothing to do with the protest. To make matters worse, Callie's only possible ally, her cousin Del, is mad at her. The last time Callie visited, she was thrown from Del's horse, Radish. Callie claimed the horse was vicious and now Del's parents are forcing her to sell Radish. Callie wants to help her cousin, but she's terrified of the horse. Del is just as tenacious as the rest of Callie's family, and Callie is forced to admit that she's not going to be allowed to go home until both the horse and the school are saved.
Walsh's compelling novel is a well-crafted story that includes the problems facing a young girl when she is forced to protest the selling of her cousin's school to a developer by camping on the school grounds with her mother, a host of relatives and other odd characters. Narrator Callie sets the scene right at the very start. She tells the reader that not only does her mom snore loudly but now she is faced with sleeping in a tent on lumpy ground with her mom's snoring, stumbling in the dark to a stinky outhouse in the middle of the night and dealing with her cousin who she is at the moment still angry with because of being thrown from her horse, Radish. Right from the beginning, the reader can see trouble brewing. The author has all the characters nailed down nicely, from a loud speaking aunt to a grandmother who appears at the protest on the back of a motorcycle with a bunch of biker friends. Callie must face not just the school problem but also the fact that her cousin is being forced to sell her beloved horse. The plot keeps the reader interested and is a good read for kids. It raises the real-life problem of schools not having enough money for repairs and how it affects the community as a whole. Charming, humorous and well put together, there is just enough suspense and humor here to carry the reader along. The best part is that the child solves the school problem and comes to terms with her personal problems in the end. Nicely written. Reviewer: Joan Elste
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"Mosquitos? Scorpions? Rattlesnakes? Maybe even rabid grizzly bears? I can hardly wait." "Drop the sarcasm, Callie. Gerry sais the bugs aren't bad this summer. Now go pack. It's a long drive and we need to get started." I sighed again. Like it or not, I was going camping. Cold nights, snoring mothers, bloodthirsty mosquitoes, stinky outhouses and all. Not to mention having to listen to my cousin go on and on about her horse. Or her 4-H projects. But there was nothing I could do. I had to go. Sighing again, I picked up my suitcase and went in the house.
"Drop the sarcasm, Callie. Gerry sais the bugs aren't bad this summer. Now go pack. It's a long drive and we need to get started."
I sighed again. Like it or not, I was going camping. Cold nights, snoring mothers, bloodthirsty mosquitoes, stinky outhouses and all. Not to mention having to listen to my cousin go on and on about her horse. Or her 4-H projects.
But there was nothing I could do. I had to go. Sighing again, I picked up my suitcase and went in the house.
Meet the Author
Ann Walsh is the author of seven novels for young readers, most of them set in Barkerville during the gold rush. Her first book, Your Time, My Time was published over twenty years ago and has been in print continuously since then. As well, Ann is the author of a book of poetry and the editor of three collections of short stories for young people. She also writes for adult readers, and her work has appeared in magazines and anthologies around the world. For more information, visit www.annwalsh.ca
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