Im not sure why, but most children seem to love horse stories. I know I did when I was younger. I think many young readers can identify with a young girl spending time daydreaming about a horse of their very own. I think they can sympathize with a girl getting into trouble for daydreaming instead of focusing on schoolwork, or other things.
Aside from the the horse story, this book offers readers lessons in life. For example, we can dream of and pray for a certain thing, but sometimes Gods answer is different from what we imagined. We can learn from Ellies story that although sometimes Gods answer isnt quite what we pictured, it is even better.
I love the sign language at the beginning of each chapter and the way that Mackall pulls in other issues facing children into her books, for example a sibling with a hearing impairment. Readers in similar circumstances will enjoy reading about characters like themselves and readers who are not in similar circumstances can learn about what it might be like with a sibling with special needs.
This is a great series for kids, filled with interesting story lines, characters they can identify with, and messages they can learn from. Parents can enjoy the fact their children are reading a book with a positive message and learning that even though Gods answer might be different from what we imagined, he always answers prayers.
Great story to teach kids about going for your dreams and praying for those dreams. Although we may not always get the answer we want from our prayers it is important to pray that God will show the path to what we want or need. Wonderfully written story for children who love animals.
Ellie James is a fourth-grader who loves horses and dreams about owning a horse of her own. She daydreams and prays about someday owning a black stallion. Ellie daydreams so much about horses (including in class) that when she tells her teacher that she sees a horse outside the school, no one believes her and they think she's just daydreaming again. But is she?
"Horse Dreams" is a cute horse related story for pre-teen age girls. In the book, Ellie learns that prayers aren't always answered in the way we want them to be or the way we expect them to be answered. Another theme of the book is that we shouldn't judge people (or in this case, a horse) by how they look.
Ellie's brother Ethan is deaf and communicates with Ellie, her parents, and her friend using sign language. The title of each chapter is spelled out in sign language along with the English title and the whole sign language alphabet is listed in the back of the book along with a glossary of horse related words and terms. I thought both made a nice addition to the book.
I like the way Ellie's faith is portrayed throughout the book and how genuine it feels whenever Ellie is praying or thinking about God and her relationship with him. Bible verses are also quoted at the beginning and the end of the book (1 Samuel 16:7 and Ephesians 3:20).
One thing to mention for parents is that in one part of the book Ellie leaves a horse show without telling anyone where she is going and walks alone to and from an animal farm a good distance away at night, which isn't a safe thing to do. Her parents never question her about this decision later in the book.
This book was an enjoyable read and I think it is a great book for Christian girls, especially girls who like horses.
This is a delightful book! This is the first in the series of Backyard Horses. Ellie James is a fourth grader with a big imagination. She wants to own a black stallion so bad and dreams about this all the time. Ellie has a little adventure about her imaginary horse. I would recommend this book especially to young girls. Dandi Daley Mackall is a very good children's writer.