Night Mare

Night Mare

by Dandi Daley Mackall


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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781414339191
Publisher: Tyndale House Publishers
Publication date: 02/17/2012
Series: Backyard Horses Series , #4
Pages: 160
Product dimensions: 5.00(w) x 6.90(h) x 0.60(d)
Age Range: 6 - 10 Years

About the Author

Dandi Daley Mackall is the author of numerous books for children, including Larger-Than- Life Lara. She lives in West Salem, Ohio, with her husband and their three children.

Read an Excerpt

Night Mare

By Dandi Daley Mackall

Tyndale House Publishers, Inc.

Copyright © 2012 Dandi Daley Mackall
All right reserved.

ISBN: 978-1-4143-3919-1

Chapter One


Ellie James and her famous horse, Dream, have ridden for miles and miles. Ellie sits tall in the saddle, not looking like the shortest kid in fourth grade. Finally she sees the pet store, home of the international Pet Help Line. A crowd comes running out to greet Ellie and Dream. A tall boy with long hair shouts, "Far out! You made it, man! Groovy!" Ellie would recognize Catman Coolidge in a heartbeat, even if he weren't carrying four fat cats. And she knows at once that the dark-haired, freckle-faced girl next to him is Winnie the Horse Gentler. Winnie leaps onto her white Arabian, Nickers. Then Winnie and Ellie ride off into the sunset on Nickers and Dream.

Something hits me in the head, knocking me out of a great daydream and back into my classroom. I spot a paper wad on my desk. I don't have to look far to see who threw it. Colt Stevens, my most-of-the-time best friend.

I spread my hands apart, palms up. It's sign language for What? Colt and I learned sign language so we could talk to Ethan, my little brother. But knowing sign comes in handy at school, too.

Colt faces Miss Hernandez, our teacher. Then he sticks his hands behind his back and signs to me, You're next.

I touch my chin and bring my hand down, signing, Thanks. Colt can't see me, but my mom says being thankful is like breathing. You might not notice when you're doing it, but you sure miss it when you aren't.

"Ellie and Cassie?" Miss Hernandez smiles our way. She has a great ponytail. It swishes behind her. After today, we only have one more day of school before summer will be here and Miss Hernandez won't be our teacher anymore. I'm going to miss her. One of the best things about our fourth-grade teacher is her ponytail. But there are lots of other best things too. Like her laugh. And the way she doesn't yell, even when she's mad. And how she doesn't make us feel stupid if our work isn't as good as somebody else's, like Larissa's.

Cassie stands up. She jerks her head for me to join her in front of the class.

I shake my head. "You're the spokeswoman," I remind her.

Cassie giggles, sounding a little nervous. "Ellie and I split the work on our blog project. Ellie collected all the recipes for horse treats. We made them together and tried them out on real horses. But Ellie did most of the work on the recipes. So you're stuck with me as spokeswoman."

The class laughs, in a nice way. Everybody loves Cassie. I'm lucky I got to be her partner for our final project—creating our own blog. The best thing about Cassie, besides that she has a horse named Misty, is that even though she's one of the most popular kids in our school, she doesn't act like it. When Miss Hernandez paired us up to develop a blog for our class project, Cassie seemed honest-to-goodness happy to be getting me for a partner.

"Well, it sounds as if you girls worked out your partnership very well," Miss Hernandez says.

Cassie smiles at me. "It was fun. Tell them how we came up with the idea, Ellie." I feel my face turn hot. But I don't really mind telling this part. "You guys know how skinny my horse, Dream, used to be."

"No kidding!" Larissa says. "That pony looked like a scarecrow."

Larissa Richland is as tall as I am short. She thinks she knows everything about horses. But I don't see how she can know that much because she doesn't take care of her horse. She lets a fancy stable do everything for her. The best thing about Larissa is ... well, I guess it's that maybe she won't be in my fifth-grade class next year.

"Larissa," Miss Hernandez says, "it's not your turn now, is it?"

"No, Miss Hernandez," Larissa answers. "But on my blog—I mean, Colt's and my blog—we're always looking for funny stories to tell. So we might want to write about how animal control had to chase that scraggly pinto all over the school lawn."

With her teacher stare, Miss Hernandez gets Larissa to stop talking. Only it's too late. Larissa already got my mind off track. Now all I can think about is the day I first saw my horse out this exact same school window. Everybody thought it was just my imagination. But it wasn't.

Who could have known that the skinny horse I saw that day would end up being my very own Dream?

"Ellie, please go on," Miss Hernandez says.

But I can't go on because I don't remember where I was.

Colt signs, Skinny pinto, needed treats.

"Right!" Now I remember. "Skinny. When I got Dream, she was so skinny you could see daylight through her. Not really. But that's how my mom put it. She also said my horse was so skinny she disappeared when she turned sideways."

Larissa fake gags.

"Once I brought Dream home, I had to fatten her up," I continue. "We used special feed, and that worked. But I started searching the Internet for horse treat recipes. Some were awful. They used peanut butter, and that's not great for horses. Then I found the coolest thing. A pet help line. Several kids get together to answer questions about animals. They've got this guy named Catman who knows everything about cats. And this kid Barker answers all the dog questions."

Larissa yawns. It's as loud as the fire alarm.

"Anyway, a girl named Winnie knows more about horses than anybody in the world, I'll bet."

"I'll bet," Larissa mutters.

I press on. "Her recipes for horse treats were the best."

Cassie takes over. "We're not using anything without permission. Winnie wrote back to Ellie and said she could use the recipes. We give Winnie credit on our blog. Plus, we blog about how our horses liked the treats."

"Good job, girls," Miss Hernandez says. She calls the next team and the next.

Larissa and Colt go last.

Larissa starts to get up, but Miss Hernandez stops her with that look again. "Colt, let's hear from you first. Tell us about your blog."

Colt looks like he wasn't counting on this. "Well, Larissa wanted to call it Starring Larissa, and I didn't care. So that's what it is. Her mom's helping us a lot with all the blog and computer stuff. She's got lots of ideas."

Miss Hernandez tugs her ponytail. "So your blog is about Larissa?"

Colt shrugs. He told me he didn't care what it was about. He just wanted school to end.

"It's not just about me," Larissa says. She stands and walks to the front of the room. "Starring Larissa is fun, entertaining, and educational." She glances at her note cards. "Just click on 'The Larissa Show' and read about horse shows. You can see pictures of my trophies and ribbons. Click on 'Larissa's Logic' for advice about horses and anything else. Or read 'Larissa Laughs,' and you may find a good joke or story." She looks at me. "That's where I could write about Ellie's little pony."

Larissa knows Dream isn't a pony. She's a horse—a beautiful pinto horse. Larissa just calls her a pony to make me mad.

But too bad for Larissa. Even she can't get me upset on a day like this. There's too much to be thankful for. Tomorrow, Saturday, I'm going on a trail ride. Monday is the last day of school, thanks to only one extra snow day this winter.

Colt and I have better things to do than worry about a blog. Summer will be filled with trail rides, horse shows, early-morning breakfast rides, and moonlight horse strolls.

Nope. Even Larissa Richland can't mess up a summer like that.

If we are thrown into the blazing furnace, the God whom we serve is able to save us.... But even if he doesn't ... we will never serve your gods or worship the gold statue you have set up. Daniel 3:17-18


Excerpted from Night Mare by Dandi Daley Mackall Copyright © 2012 by Dandi Daley Mackall. Excerpted by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc.. 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.

Customer Reviews

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Night Mare 4.4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 17 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I love this book and this series! It talks about how to have good faith God and trust Him. A must read!!!!!!
iblog4books More than 1 year ago
Night Mare is another cute story that pre-teen girls will enjoy. The author does a great job showing the perils of gossip and the importance of friendship without being preachy. I have no reservations recommending this book for younger girls. [4 stars]
amybooksy More than 1 year ago
Night Mare is the fourth installment in the Backyard Horses series. I think this is the emotional story of the four. And I think it is my favorite of the series. Poor Ellie. She really was living a nightmare. Great reminder that with God, you are never alone.  5 stars
teenbooksjc More than 1 year ago
In “Night Mare,” Ellie is a young girl who is assigned a class assignment to blog. This is the final novel is a series about Ellie. She adores her beloved horse, Dream, and decides to write about him. Only she discovers that the Pinto has owners, and isn’t a runaway like she and her family believed before. The novel shines with plots twists and the true and affectionate love between a girl and her horse. After all, who wouldn’t say that Ellie loved her horse? I myself love horses and I love to ride them. They are exciting creatures and loveable as well. The novel’s plot seemed a little far-fetched – Dream’s owners just happened to read the same blog Ellie was writing and could figure out he was their horse? But the emotions, the loss, and Ellie and the horse were definitely well-developed and extremely poignant. Some events are beyond our control, and God definitely is still in control, even when we don’t see him.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
SophiesMindset More than 1 year ago
Another good installment of Backyard Horses I've now read 3 of the 4 books currently in this series, and I love all of them. Mackall fluidly incorporates important lessons into her books that I believe will be influential on the children that read them. I've checked these books out of the library thus far, but plan on buying them for my daughter - they are that good. I hope there are more books to be released in this series. Since these are high quality children's books, I will be looking at Mackall's other works as well.
pinkgirlLS More than 1 year ago
Night Mare was a sweet story about a girl learning to trust God when her prayers are unanswered. I read another one of the series also to my three little girls. The book was a bit slow, but a believable story with kids you want your kids to be like.
AnotherBibliophile More than 1 year ago
Great Series for Kids, Fun and Interesting. Of the 4 books in the series, I enjoyed this the most because Ellie learns and grows so much. Ellie is a cute character, and she acts in the best way she knows, when she listens to God in her heart. Lessons seem to sink in, and things work out in surprising ways. The story was sad in some ways, but we all need to rely on God in bad times as well as good. These stories are well written and gently faith affirming.
Virginia76 More than 1 year ago
Ellie loves Dream, her backyard horse. When someone arrives who claims to be the original owner, Ellie has to let Dream go. This is another cute horse book and the last in the series. I felt bad for Ellie, who wanted her own horse for years, and when she finally got it, had to give it back. It was nice to see her talking to God about the problem and also telling her friend Colt about God.
J4Life5 More than 1 year ago
I've read all but one book from this series, but this is my favorite. I love the way Mackall keeps the main story line moving along while pulling in peripheral stories that deal with real life issues for kids, such as divorce, parental job stressors, siblings with challenges, and the loss of a pet. Mackall offered a twist in this book with Dream that I was not expecting. It is always nice when there is an unexpected plot twist since so many books are predictable. I also love the messages that Mackall puts into her books. In this book, Ellie realizes that even when life isn't fair and we are devastated by events beyond our control, those who have faith in God are never alone, because He never leaves us. An excellent book by an author that writes great books for kids who like horses.
Nicnac63 More than 1 year ago
Night Mare is another charming Backyard Horse story. Ellie, the heroine, is a lovable character.  Decisions aren't always easy, and Ellie struggles with sad events that happen. I just love these cute stories, and this final book of the series is satisfying, age-appropriate, and memorable.
lmbartelt More than 1 year ago
The conclusion to the Backyard Horses series. And it was a good one. Ellie had to make a tough decision, which I think is important for kids to see modeled. I consider Ellie a good role model for elementary aged kids, and reading about her life reminded me of some of the best parts of my elementary childhood, which had nothing at all to do with horses. As my kids get older, I'll be looking for more books from Dandi Daley Mackall.
kristen4mk More than 1 year ago
Ellie James is ready for the perfect summer, enjoying her family, friends, and especially Dream, her backyard horse. Through a sad series of events, it turns out that Dream was not abandoned as they all thought, but ran away from her owners and now they want her back. Although it's clear that the boy who owned Dream (he named her Jinx) can't possibly love the mare as much as Ellie, she struggles to do the right thing and let Dream go graciously. Just when you think there might now be a happy ending, the author provides a creative (and not cheesy or overdone) way for everyone's dreams to come true. And the miracle touches more lives than just Ellie's. This was probably my favorite book of the series. Whether you have a horse crazy girl in your house, as I do, or you just want a fun and poignant story to read, please check out this series!
hannah97 More than 1 year ago
Night Mare by Dandi Daley Mackall is the fourth book in the backyard Horses. It is a great book and an easy read. A must read if you’ve already read the other books in this series. Night Mare is definitely written for younger readers but readers of all ages will enjoy the story and love its Christian values.
Louisa_May More than 1 year ago
If you're reading this review, I assume you've read the other 3 books in the Backyard Horses series. This book is my favorite of all of them! Ellie truly loves her horse Dream and, suddenly, she's going to lose her to the original owner... and the person she is losing Dream to is not reassuring in the least. Ellie grows closer to God through her trial--quite a trial for a 4th grader! Ellie realizes anew that God doesn't always answer our prayers in the way we expect Him to. She leans on Him through "the fire" and she sees that He is always with us even when it doesn't feel like it. This book isn't just pure entertainment; its message is one that will impact the reader and reassure him or her that God's plans are the best even when we can't always see that: "For I know the plans I have for you," declares the Lord, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future." (Jer. 29:11)
ladybugofthree More than 1 year ago
Sometimes, in a series, the more books there are, the less interesting they get! Not the case with this one!! I loved this latest book in the series...a great storyline that will have you cheering and hoping things work out in the end. Who would have thought a blog and a mean spirited girl could lead to this?!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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