Wednesday, November 13, 2019

Appaloosy Horse Books

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Anyone who knows our family knows that we love to review books. Since the foundation of our schooling is literature, I require my kids to read a substantial amount every day. There is a lot to be learned from fiction, and the kids generally relish in it daily, however, I also insist that they read nonfiction, too. I always appreciate when we find books that blend the two types, ones that teach factual history through a fictional story. That is what we received from Author Mattie Richardson/Appaloosy Books.

Mattie Richardson has been called "North Dakota's Teen Author" as she wrote her first book at 13 years old. She has since written more books while juggling a full-time journalist job and a part-time music career. She also speaks to schools and groups to encourage other young writers. Horses are another passion of hers and evidently the inspiration of Mattie Richardson's Horses in History Series. We received all four books in the series and couldn't wait to learn about the past.

The Horses in History series is just that, horses in history. Mattie's stories each highlight a portion of history and the importance of horses during that time.  We've heard these accounts from men over the years, but Mattie lets us see the stories from the horses point of view. These original narratives add a whimsical touch that helps ages 8-14 get a better understanding of our past.

My 11-year-old read three of the books and helped me with the summaries.

Appaloosy  is set in 1877 during thr Nez Perce War. It is 125 pages.
It's about an Indian's horse named Storm. The Indian breaks him, but didn't wear a saddle. The Indians and the White men battle and Storm is stolen and sold. The man who bought him thought the horse is good for nothing, so he sold him to a girl named Faith. Storm liked the girl, but since she didn't know his name, she renamed him Star. He got to know Faith and her family, and then he was stolen again with the rest of the family's horses. The horses escaped and had the choice to be free horses or return to Faith. He chose to return. 

Dusty's Trail takes place in the early 1860s during the Pony Express era and is nearly 75 pages long.
It's about a horse named Dusty. His owner Levi wanted to get a job with the Pony Express to help care for his widowed mother. She was afraid to lose him, but he ran away and took the job. They spent their days riding from place to place. One day, they show up at a station to find that all the people were dead and the horses stolen. Levi and Dusty rode to the next station to warn the people. Dusty became famous because he was so fast and ran so far as a cow horse. Then, Indians attacked. Levi fell off and was captured while Dusty ran away. Eventually, Dusty decided to save Levi. Another horse named Ace went with him. A man tried to capture the horses, but some flour from the man's wagon fell on Dusty and made him white. The horses escaped and made it to Indian Territory. Dusty found Levi tied up in a teepee. As they were escaping, the Indians woke up. Since Dusty was white from the flour, the Indians thought he was a spirit and let them leave. Dusty became famous again.   

Golden Sunrise centers around the Alamo in 1936 and is just about 100 pages. It is sprinkled with Spanish words to add to the authenticity. 

The story is told by Cheyenne, a Golden Palomino in Northern Texas. Cheyenne's owner, Jared, longs to become a volunteer soldier in Texas's fight for independence. The pair becomes stationed in San Antonio to help defend Fort Alamo. As the battles rage, Cheyenne and Jared hide a cannon, help protect each other, and befriend James Bowie and Davy Crockett.

When Jared died at the hand of the Mexicans, Cheyenne became moody and withdrawn and refused to eat. It took the loving touch of Jared's younger brother Austin and his use of her secret name to restore her will to live. Over time, Austin gained her complete trust and friendship. As Texas became free and independent, the new friends vowed to "Remember the Alamo!" 

Day and Night is set during the Civil War and is around 150 pages in length.
It's about two horses: Shiloh and Tucker. The chapters swap back and forth between the two horses. They are as different as day and night. Tucker is sold to a man who needed a work horse. Eventually the Yankees come and called him a Rebel and stole his horse. Tucker was sold to the army. He ended up with a man named Ben. They went through war until he proved himself. Then he became a colonel's horse. In battle, he saw his brother Shiloh, but he didn't recognize him at first. At the next battle, someone got shot, and Ben offered to help. 
Shiloh was sold as a last resort because his owner needed money. The man who bought him was really mean. Shiloh was stolen by a girl. When her mother wouldn't let her join the army, she ran off with the horse. She then asked the general if she could join, but since she was a girl, he wouldn't let her. She decided to cut her hair off, pretended to be a boy, and changed her name. The men let her join. In battle, Sarah was shot. Ben offered to take her to a doctor, but since she was really a girl, she refused. Ben stitched her up. 
In the end, Ben and Sarah got married and the horse brothers were united again.    

The beginning of each book has a list of words the reader should know. There are both foreign words and period words that are no longer commonplace. Each one is given a short definition to help the story flow.

The end of each book dedicates a few pages to a Blast from the Past, which is the background history from which the story is set. Of course, there is information about the wars, but other interesting facts are noted as well, including how the appaloosa horses got their name, what a quarter horse is, the mystery behind the word palomino, and more.

Along with the four paperback books, we received the PDF version of the Day and Night Enrichment Guide. The guide is divided into eight parts that correspond to the book. The first seven sections follow the same format:
  • Reading Comprehension
  • Vocabulary
  • History
  • A Soldier's Life
  • Living History Activity
  • Geography
  • Horses and History
  • Creating Your Own Stories
  • Biography
  • Further Reading  
The last section finishes up the story with a conclusion and optional field trip activity.

The guide has nearly 100 pages of enrichment ideas: fill-in-the-blank, short answer, coloring, crafts, map work, recipes, word search, and more. There are photographs and much historical information to supplement your study of the Civil War. There is a full accompanying answer key, as well.

This impressive enrichment guide is packed full of information. It could easily be used as a full study on the Civil War.

Day and Night was my daughter's favorite because it followed the story lines of the two horses. She appreciated the historical information woven into the books.

If your child is interested in horses and the past, you should consider Mattie Richardson's Horses in History Series.

You can connect with Mattie Richardson and Appaloosy Books on the following social media sites:

You can read more reviews of these books on the Homeschool Review Crew blog.

Book Set: Appaloosy, Dusty's Trail, Golden Sunrise & Day and Night {Mattie Richardson/Appaloosy Books Reviews}

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