Review of “Horse Dreams”

978-1-4143-3916-0

Horse Dreams follows fourth-grader Ellie James as she dreams of owning a beautiful black stallion so that she can compete in a local horse show.

Ellie has cried and begged for a horse for years, but now she has given her dream over to the Lord, realizing that He can do far more than she can.

When Ellie’s daydreams are interrupted by a mysterious pinto mare, no one believes her. Did she really see a horse run through the schoolyard? Or was it just her imagination?

Dandi Daley Mackall’s Horse Dreams teaches a valuable lesson to young readers, namely that God hears and answers our prayers, but not necessarily how we think He should. I was impressed with how Mackall bookended Horse Dreams with Scriptures that provided the underlying principles for the story. I was also impressed with how Mackall included sign language at the beginning of each chapter, a very intriguing approach I have never seen before.

However, I found that there were several holes in the story that I felt needed to be addressed. Why is Ellie’s brother deaf? Why is Colt’s dad gone so often? Why is Ellie’s dad so afraid of her principal?

I also felt like some of the adult characters were made to come across as extremely incompetent, particularly Ellie’s parents. Her father is a short, bumbling jingle-writer who has a paralyzing fear of Principal Fishpaw, and her mother is a tall, eccentric, full-time volunteer who listens to irritating music and doesn’t have the sense to tie a horse up. I found myself shaking my head in disgust at adult characters in the book, with very few exceptions.

I would have to give the book a “C”.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the Tyndale book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 .

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