The reviewer remarked on the freshness and naivety of The Mystery Stallion, which caught my attention as I’d just finished reading a really interesting post from the Guardian Books Blog about horse books for girls. Imogen Russell Williams, the author of the post, writes pretty nostalgically, if a bit sarcastically, about the horse books she read as a girl. Still, when it comes to modern horse books she advises readers to, “Give them a miss”. Her reasons? Too formulaic and too full of glamorous things like belly button piercings.
So reading that, and then reading the review that praised Sharon’s books, got me thinking. What exactly makes Sharon’s books “fresh and naïve”, and how are they different from other horse books? The Wild Horse Creek books are amazing because they are adventure stories, plain and simple. Nothing weighs a good adventure down more than having to stop to deal with “teen issues” and so Liv and Sophie have the same sorts problems that girls have been having from the beginning of time, but those problems take a backseat to riding in the desert and protecting their grandparents’ heard. Because of this, the Wild Horse Creek series feels pretty timeless. No belly button piercings, but plenty of circling coyotes and underground caves.
When I was a kid, my mom gave me her copy of Misty of Chincoteague and I devoured it. That was another timeless book, I think. Looking back, I love that my mom and I both got to love that book when we were about the same age. I love that nothing in that book got in the way of both of us being able to get pulled into that story.
Anyway, this is just a small theory of mine about what makes girls love books about horses. They’re adventure stories. They’re exciting. It’s actually a pretty simple theory.
In case you thought this post was getting too serious, I want to share something disturbing. Look! They stuffed the real Misty and she’s on display at a ranch in Virginia.
Oh my childhood heroes…