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Do you have children who love stories about history? Do you have children who are fascinated with horses? Are you looking for family-friendly books to read to your children? Appaloosy, Day and Night, Golden Sunrise, and Dusty’s Trail from the Mattie Richardson’s Horses in History Series, by Author Mattie Richardson/Appaloosy Books could be exactly what you’re looking for. These four books will take your family on historical adventures across the United States from 1877 Oregon and the Nez Perce to the Civil War to the battle at the Alamo to the Pony Express.
Appaloosy (her first book) is about a horse named Storm who is owned by a Nez Perce brave, White Feather for a time, until there is a war in Idaho. In that war, Storm is taken to live with the white men. He is sold several times and meets new horses along the way. He begins to live on a family farm with a young girl named Faith. Here he is finally happy, he doesn’t want to run with a wild herd any more. However life takes a different turn, when he is stolen by rustlers. He is able to escape, but needs to make an important decision. Will he stay free or go back to Faith?
In Dusty’s Trail Levi Anderson sees an ad for a job that needs young riders for the Pony Express. He immediately wants to leave the family ranch and ride for them. His Palomino, Dusty, doesn’t think it’s a good idea nor does Levi’s mom. They leave and no matter the dangers (Paiute Indians, bad weather, and wild animals) they bond even more and have some great rides.
In Day and Night Tucker and Shiloh, two young Morgan brothers, are sold separately and could soon face each other in the Civil War. The two horses learn a lot of about the war and it’s effect on everyone during their times in the Union and Confederacy. Will they meet each other on the battle field? Can Shiloh keep Sarah (a young woman fighting as a young man) safe?
Cheyenne is a Golden Palomino in Golden Sunrise who is ready to help her owner, Jared, fight for Texas’s independence. They travel together to San Antonio where Jared has orders to fight the Mexicans and Santa Anna. At the Alamo they make new friends, but life will soon change for both of them. What will happen to them, James Bowie, Davy Crockett and other now famous fighters? Will Texas become a free state for the United States?
About Mattie Richardson:
Mattie Richardson currently lives in North Dakota where she is a full-time journalist and part-time musician. Appaloosy was written when she was 13 and published when she was 16. She has a passion for writing and shares it with others at schools and different groups.
I’ve always thought that it was important to learn about history from living books, because it makes it more realistic and not just a lot of facts and figures. I feel that she knows more about history, because of books like these by Mattie Richardson.
When I showed her these books, she was very interested. I wasn’t sure if it was because they were bought horses or history. She took Appaloosa and read it quickly and enjoyed it. She soon begin reading the other ones too.
Day and Night currently has the Day and Night Enrichment Guide available for purchase, so C and I worked on this book and guide together. We would read the sections of books together as a read-aloud then worked on the guide. We took a week to work on each part. We did:
-History (more information about what is read about int the book)
-A Soldier’s Life
-Living History Activity (ways to make Civil War history come alive)
-Horses and History
-Creating Your Own Stories
-Biography (different historical figures)
-Further Reading/Advanced Track (reading different parts of Shiloh and/or Battle Cry of Freedom)
-I like how these books were from the horse’s perspective, but still included all important historical details. Each horse was a different breed. There was a Palomino, an Appaloosa, and American Quarter Horse, and a Morgan. There are also other breeds mentioned. The mention of all these different breeds opens up the opportunity to study and learn more about them.
-These books were so well written that I’m not sure which one is my favorite. I felt like I was right there with the horses, feeling what they felt and seeing what they saw. I especially noticed this in the one about the Pony Express. I’ve studied a little bit about it in the past and understand the desires and dangers that the young men and horses would have felt as they raced across the countryside. Please keep in mind what happened at the Alamo, when reading Golden Sunrise. You might want to read this book before your younger children. I would also say the same for Day and Night.
-I liked the extra historical information that was at the end of each book.
-The Day and Night Enrichment Guide is a must to go along with the book. It includes so many different activities. I really liked learning more information about the horses and horsemanship, geography, activities, and biographies. The part that I thought was the best though was the different creative writing assignments. These assignments will help children build their own stories to share with others.
C’s Thoughts (girl, officially in 8th grade):
Appaloosy is about a horse who is owned by the Nez Perce Indians, but he is captured and sent to live with white men. Then he comes to live with a little girl, but then is captured again. Read the book to find out what happens.
Golden Sunrise is about a golden Palomino mare that fights with her owner at the Alamo for the independence of Texas.
Dusty’s Trail is about a horse and his rider who works for the Pony Express, but then there is trouble with the Paiute Indians. What will happen to Dusty and his rider?
Day and Night is about two young horses who fight in the American Civil War on opposite sides both claiming to fight for freedom.
Appaloosy was my favorite of all four books, because it was the most interesting to me. I think all of the books are well written and interesting though.
I think these books would be good for people of all ages.
Social Media Links:
Recap of pertinent information!
Product Link: Mattie Richardson’s Horses in History Series
Vendor Information Link: Author Mattie Richardson/Appaloosy Books
Age Appeal: ages 8-14 (Those who especially like horses and history!)
Format: The books we received were paperback from 60 to over 140 pages. The Day and Night Enrichment Guide was a PDF.
Price and More: Please check the product link for current prices and more information
Please click on the graphic below to learn what the other crew members on the review thought about this program!