Set in Hollywood in the earliest days of filmmaking, this book features Rosie, a high-spirited Jewish girl, who has appeared as the star of several of her father's silent films in two previous books by the same author, part of the "Aladdin Historical Fiction" series. When Rosie's father hires an entire wild west show to help with his first western, Rosie meets Zach, the rude and irritable son of the show's feature rider. When two prize horses escape, Zach and Rosie take off into the wild Santa Monica Mountains to find them. They lose their way, barely avoiding attacks by a mountain lion and a rattlesnake. Then they are captured by, then escape from, a pair of robbers who are plotting to steal all the horses from the show. How Rosie and Zach overcome these dangers and their dislike for each other, conquer their very real fears, and help save the horses, makes for a very exciting, yet thoughtful, book. The guardian angel who appears in Rosie's dreams as a wise and drawling Jewish cowboy ("Shalom, y'all") is a sample of the author's quirky humor, and her intent to offer more than just an action story. Rosie is a great example of a confident girl who still has to work through fears and feelings, a good role model for upper elementary and middle school girls. 2004, Aladdin Paperbacks/Simon & Schuster, Ages 9 to 12.
Dawn Elizabeth Hunt
Gr 3-6-Set in 1911, this third story about irrepressible Rosie explores the early years of the movies. The Lepidus family has moved to Los Angeles from Chicago, changed their name to Lake, and purchased a ranch where Rosie's father can film Westerns. He hires a small Wild West troop as actors and extras and starts to dream up a new story with Rosie as his star. Then the Cowboy King, the show's main attraction, is injured when Rosie spooks his horse. His son Zach is none too happy about teaching her how to ride, especially when she guesses that he is reluctant to get in the saddle himself-injured in a fall, he hasn't yet found the courage to get back on. Soon, however, the two find they must cooperate as they track down two runaway horses in the nearby hills. They become lost in the fog, barely escape a mountain lion, encounter horse thieves, and are forced to spend the night hiding. Each supports the other when they have to face their fears in order to get back home. The next morning, they arrive just in time to help thwart the robbers. Full of action and adventure and with a spirited heroine ready for anything, this book makes a good addition to the series.-Terrie Dorio, Santa Monica Public Library, CA Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.