Book review: The Search for TK, by Bobbi J.G. Weiss

Weiss, Bobbi J. G. The Search for TK. (Ride series, #3) Candlewick Entertainment, 2018. $7.99. ISBN 9780763698577. 263 pages. Ages 12+. P7 Q6

Kit’s horse, TK has been taken away because he is dangerous. For Kit, who had to overcome obstacles to ride her horse, it is devastating. The main plot revolves around finding a way to get TK back. As Kit is doing research for a project, she realizes some information she knew about her mother (who passed away before book 1) is not true, which leads to some loose ends and a mystery that might be resolved in the next sequel. The first few chapters summarize what has happened in book one and two. Without reading the first two books the reader doesn’t fully grasp the relationships between the various characters. The book does not have a lot of substance; however, it will appeal to youth who like horses. Though the book is the third book in the series, it can stand alone. The book sets up for another sequel.

Verdict: Since the book is made from a Nickelodeon movie, it may be popular with teens. I found the book shallow and not of much substance.

November 2018 review by Tami Harris.

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Book review: Competing for The Cup, by Bobbi J.G. Weiss

Weiss, Bobbi J. G. Competing for The Cup. (Ride series.) Candlewick Entertainment, 2018. $7.99. ISBN 9780763698553. 267pages. Ages 12-16. P7 Q5

Based on the Nickelodeon series: Ride. In Competing for the Cup, Kit’s father is injured by falling timbers in the barn. Will and his friends put a dummy (from the first book) in a loft in the barn, causing the accident. Kit’s interest in Will continues from the first book but is threatened when she finds out that Will is to blame for her father’s accident. Someone leaves her clues on how to successfully ride her horse, TK, using sticky notes. She thinks the person is Will, but is it? Meanwhile, her friend Anya has a secret and she thinks she knows what it is. A sequel for Ride: Kit meets Covington, Book 2 in the Ride series as seen on Nickelodeon. This book can stand alone, but you will miss the past rival between Kit and Elaine along with other details that leave the book incomplete. Without the first book, some of the actions of the characters do not make sense.

Verdict: If you have watched the television series, you may be interested in the book. With the incomplete story line and lack of fully developed characters, this book is an easy read, but pointless.

April 2018 review by Tami Harris.

Book review: Rescue, by Jessie Haas

Haas, Jessie. Rescue. Boyds Mill Press, 2018. $17.95. ISBN 9781629798806. 189 pages Ages 9-12. P7 Q7

How do you balance the need for animals to be free and people who farm? Chess, a girl from California, who wears nice clothes and is a vegan and an animal rights activist, arrives at Joni’s school. Joni’s family has a sheep farm and Chess questions Joni’s family owning animals. Chess feels that a neighbor’s miniature horses are in danger and tries to free them, allowing them to eat all the grass they want and putting them in danger. In the end, Chess realizes that farming is give and take and not harmful to animals. Chess and Joni stay friends, even with their differences. Told from Joni’s point of view, the reader follows Joni as she tries to figure out if her animals feel captive and if farming is good for animals.

Verdict: I learned a lot about sheep farming and how to care for horses. I recommend this book for children who are interested in horses and farming. This book also brought out the importance of critical thinking and listening to others and standing up for one’s values while maintaining a friendship.

April 2018 review by Tami Harris.

Book review: Kit Meets Covington, by Bobby J.G. Weiss

Weiss, Bobby J.G. Kit Meets Covington. (Ride series, book 1) Candlewick Entertainment, 2017. $7.99. ISBN 9780763698355. 269 Pages. Ages 12 +. P7 Q7

Based on the Nickelodeon series Ride: Kit Meets Covington. After her mother’s death, Kit and her father move to Covington Academy, a prestigious boarding school in England, where she meets new friends and figures out how to navigate life in a new country. Kit bonds with a wild horse, TK, and makes a plan to save the horse from being shipped away from the school. The book does not reference Kit’s mother, which makes the reader wonder what happened to her. In the beginning of the story, the author references Kit’s friend, Charlie, but only in the first few chapters. There are a few unresolved conflicts. I think it makes a better movie than book. The book focuses on Kit riding TK, but the book ends before the competition occurs. More details on what happened to her mom, follow up with her friend Charlie and resolved conflicts would improve the book. It is almost like you are coming into a story already in progress that ends before the story is over. It is set up for a sequel, but can stand alone.

Verdict: If you have seen the movie, you might enjoy the book. Beautiful photo on the front of the book with Kit and TK, Covington in the background, and glossy photos in the middle of the book will appeal to young teens.

December 2017 review by Tami Harris

Book review: Sergeant Reckless: The True Story of the Little Horse Who Became a Hero, by Patricia McCormick, illustrated by Iacopo Bruno

McCormick, Patricia. Sergeant Reckless: The True Story of the Little Horse Who Became a Hero. Illustrated by Iacopo Bruno. Balzer + Bray, 2017. $17.99. ISBN 9780062292599. Unpaged. Ages 4-8. P8Q8

A small sorrel mare was the only animal ever to hold a U.S. military rank. She also received two Purple Hearts for injuries sustained in battle. In Korea, a troop of U.S. Marines reluctantly adopted the stray horse to move heavy loads of ammunition and the perpetually hungry horse became the company pet and pack horse.  Named Reckless, the horse would eat scrambled eggs, chocolate, and drink Coke.  On the battlefield, after learning to ignore the explosions, Reckless worked to move heavy artillery shells and on at least one occasion saved the lives of several Marines. After the war, the Marines raised the money to bring Sergeant Reckless to live out her days at California’s Camp Pendleton.  Digitally colored pencil drawings set off the text, which is often arranged as a collage of document, newspaper clippings and advertising.  This picture book biography has the feel of a time capsule or period collage and brings the Korean War to life for a younger generation.

Verdict: Highly recommended for elementary and public library collections.

October 2017 review by Jane Cothron.

Book review: Chancey of the Maury River, by Gigi Amateau

Gigi Amateau. Chancey of the Maury River. Candlewick Press, 2008. $15.99. ISBN 978-0-7636-3439-1. 246 p. Gr. 4-8. P7Q8

amateau-chanceyThis magical novel is about a girl and her horse.  On the night Chancy was born a fire star shot across the sky.  The fire star is a sign of wisdom and potential which will change the life of Claire forever.  Interestingly, this novel is narrated from the horse’s point of view.

September 2016 review by Sam Case Elementary student C.L.

Book review: Oh, Harry!, by Maxine Kumin, illustrated by Barry Moser

Kumin, Maxine. Oh, Harry! Illustrated by Barry Moser. “A Neal Porter Book.” Roaring Brook Press, 2011. Unpaged. $16.99. ISBN 9781596434394. Ages 4-6. P7Q8.

kumin-oh-harryHarry, though not one of the show horses, knows how to soothe a frightened filly and calm an anxious mare.  Problems arise when the six-year-old son of the stable owner arrives at the stable with a bag of tricks and frightens the high-strung horses.  When the boy accidentally locks himself into the feed bin, though, it is Harry who saves him—leading to a drastic and welcome change in behavior.  Barry Moser’s hilarious and realistic illustrations pair beautifully with poet Maxine Kumin’s rhyming couplets to portray the homely horse who saves the day.

Verdict: This funny book will appeal to horse lovers and story time listeners will enjoy hearing how Harry outsmarts Algernon Adams the Third. Recommended for kindergarten, elementary school and public libraries.

October 2016 review by Jane Cothron.