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17 January 2011 @ 10:01 am
horse books  

I’ve got a question from a reader: “What books do you recommend for almost-12-yr-olds who are really smart but only read horse books?”

I’ve already got Mercedes Lackey’s Valdemar (particularly the Arrows books to start with), Caitlin Brennan’s HOUSE OF THE STAR in particular, Robin McKinley’s THE BLUE SWORD, and I’m thinkin’ maybe Anne McCaffrey’s Harper Hall trilogy, although fire lizards are not *technically* horses. :)

What am I missing, I asked gleefully, because there is nothing so much fun as asking LJ for book recommendations. *beams*

(x-posted from the essential kit)
pgwfolcpgwfolc on January 17th, 2011 09:35 am (UTC)
Pretty good list to start with.

Offhand, all I can think to add is Mercedes Lackey's SERRAted Edge books. Modern urban fantasy centered around elves with magical horses who rescue kids in danger (and also sometimes drive race cars).
wyld_dandelyonwyld_dandelyon on January 17th, 2011 09:58 am (UTC)
Doranna Durgin has some books where the main character, or one of them, is a horse in human form, if I remember correctly.

Also, I'd suggest a web-search for pucas (and the other spellings pookahs, phoukahs, poukhas etc.) in fiction. Elizabeth Bear's faerie stories have a pookah in them, but are probably for an older audience.

There's others, I know it, by other authors, but Dun Lady's Jess and Changespell are what come to mind right away.
Kari Sperringla_marquise_de_ on January 17th, 2011 10:58 am (UTC)
Well, speaking of Caitlin Brennan, there's also her A Wind in Cairo under her more famous name. Elyne Mitchell, The Silver Brumby and its sequels. K M Peyton's Flambards quartet, plus Fly By Night and Prove Yourself a Hero; pretty much anything by Marguerite Henry; Kristen Brittain, Green Rider and its sequels (if she likes Valdemar, she'll love these); Joy Chant, The Grey Mane of Morning and Red Moon, Black Mountain.
Yes, I was once a horse.... (ages 8-13).

Edited at 2011-01-17 10:58 am (UTC)
Passionately decaying organic mattermiintikwa on January 17th, 2011 11:13 pm (UTC)
I was going to suggest Kristen Britain, too! Green Rider is an awesome book, and the sequels just keep getting better. (Book FOUR coming soon!)
Dreamshadowmorgie on January 17th, 2011 02:33 pm (UTC)
If the kiddo likes older books, there's also The Horse and His Boy.
Dreamshadowmorgie on January 17th, 2011 04:33 pm (UTC)
Trixie Belden was fun - also, Tammy Pierce's Alanna books. It's knights! They have horses... ;) Black Stallion books were awesome, and hm... Jeeze. I've actually forgotten the actual names of most of my favorite horse books when I was a kid.
Nimtouchstone on January 18th, 2011 12:55 pm (UTC)
For Tamora Pierce, I'd have said the Kel ('Protector of the Small') books had more of the 'girl and her animal friends' feel, but really, any of her books would probably suit the reader :)
leighjen: Jon and  Stephenleighjen on January 17th, 2011 02:36 pm (UTC)
I am going to go in a terribly different direction and suggest the Trixie Belden books.


They are mystery and not fantasy but there are horses (though they are plain old horses and not magical at all). I loved them when I was about that age.
Childlightchildlight on January 17th, 2011 04:10 pm (UTC)
I loved Trixie Belden as well. It made me want to have a horse. And I loved how dated the books were.
kitmizkit on January 17th, 2011 05:26 pm (UTC)
I don't actually remember them having horses particularly, but now that you mention it I have vague recollections of such. But I read them 30 years ago, so perhaps it's not surprising I don't remember clearly. :)
leighjenleighjen on January 17th, 2011 08:58 pm (UTC)
The horses are not "plot" per se, but Trixie and Honey spend time in most of the books riding horses. I remember being so jealous of them that they could ride whenever they wanted to.
UrsulaVursulav on January 17th, 2011 02:43 pm (UTC)
Well, you've got McKinley, but I'd add "Hero and the Crown" to that. And I seem to recall reading Elizabeth Kerner Mass's "Song in the Silence" at around seventeen and thinking "Crap, where was this book four or five years ago when I would have eaten it up with a spoon?"

Also, Clare Bell's "Ratha's Creature" and "Clan Ground." Not horses--actually talking sentient tigery things--but I recall being riveted by these during the horse crazy years (along with the fire lizards and so forth.)

If they are a VERY bright twelve year old, one might suggest C.J. Cherryh's "Rider at the Gate" and "Cloud's Rider." (What? They're horse books! For a value of horse books...)
Mary Annepers1stence on January 17th, 2011 03:28 pm (UTC)
They're easy reading for a 12 year old, but all the Marguerite Henry books are horse books and decent books. Same with the Black Stallion books.

I believe someone hinted above but aren't some of Judith Tarr's books (in that name) "horse" books?

If "horse" can stretch to "unicorn":
The Last Unicorn by Peter S Beagle
Song of Sorcery/Unicorn Creed by Elizabeth Scarborough
kitmizkit on January 17th, 2011 05:28 pm (UTC)
I'm assuming if this kid reads horse books she (and Im assuming it's a she) has already read all of the Black Stallion/Marguerite Henry/etc stuff. :)
Lillian Wheelerllwheeler on January 17th, 2011 04:04 pm (UTC)
Maybe a bit young for a 12 year old (at least for a challenging read), but my horse-crazy sister loved the Heartland series.

And Anne McCaffrey's Acorna books might also be good, or good in a year or two. I loved those when I was ~14 I think. Unicorn-people aliens, pretty awesome.
anthony_lionanthony_lion on January 17th, 2011 04:56 pm (UTC)

Love the Acorna books!

Not that there's anything wrong with the Harper Hall trilogy, or The White Dragon.
(I first read The White Dragon while in the RNoAF. Not only was it difficult to hide the tears - tears, testosterone and assault-rifles really doesn't mix - but one of the lieutenants who was inspecting officer one day happened to notice it and asked to borrow it after I was finished with it... )
mikaela_lmikaela_l on January 17th, 2011 05:46 pm (UTC)
Toby Bishop's books! They are similar to the Valdemar books, except that they have wings.
angela_n_hunt on January 17th, 2011 05:59 pm (UTC)
Everybody already suggested what I would have. LOL Seconded on all fronts.
S. L. Grayshadowhwk on January 17th, 2011 06:46 pm (UTC)
Richard Adams, he of Watership Down fame, has a horse book called Traveller, which is not particularly uplifting, but then again, Adams' books aren't so much. Still. Horses.

Edit to clarify: It's the Civil War told from the perspective or through the eyes of General Lee's horse.

Edited at 2011-01-17 06:48 pm (UTC)
markiqueen on January 17th, 2011 09:28 pm (UTC)
I totally second the Walter Farley books, and Marguerite Henry, too (from what little I've read). Another option, which is technically a short story, is "The Adventure of the Silver Blaze" by Arthur Conan Doyle (yes, it's a Holmes story about horses). Only problem I see with it is that some of the terminology is confusing if you aren't familiar with the Victorian era. I know I read several Sherlock Holmes stories without knowing what a hansom was.

Gerald Morris's Squire's Tale books are YA Arthurian legend and as such all the knights are on horseback. The only horse that seems to have much personality, however, is Gawain's horse, but as Gawain's squire is the main character, this isn't really a problem.

The James Herriot books (All Thins Bright and Beautiful, etc.) are kid-okay and have horses in them sometimes.

For fiction overall, I think I'd just recommend looking for YA westerns and medieval stories. Cowboys and knights almost always have horses, and there's a lot of mevieval YA, at least.

Plus, there are lots of good nonfiction horse books out there. Horse, Follow Closely by Gawani Pony Boy was interesting, aimed at adults (for smart 12-year olds) but still entirely appropriate, from what I recall.
anthony_lionanthony_lion on January 17th, 2011 10:10 pm (UTC)
Well, you could say that there's horses in there...
(There are some, too, and Hereford cows, corgies, cats, sheep... more sheep... pigs... more cows... )

That would be 'All Creatures Great and Small' by James Herriot.

(The entire boxed set is now selling at £20+postage on the site. Almost half the price of what Amazon sells them for)

magicalbookwormmagicalbookworm on January 18th, 2011 12:55 am (UTC)
The Thoroughbred series by Joanna Campbell.

They aren't fantasy, but wonderful horse books on racing and later horse jumping.

I'm not sure if you'll be able to find them in a normal store though. It would have to be a second hand book seller or ebay. The first one is A Horse Called Wonder. There's about 70 of them I think.
Amberleyamberley on January 18th, 2011 08:40 am (UTC)
Phantom Rider trilogy
They may be hard to find, but before Janni Lee Simner wrote the amazing (although horseless) YA novel Bones of Faerie she wrote the Phantom Rider trilogy, published by Scholastic in 1996: Ghost Horse, The Haunted Trail, and Ghost Vision.
Amberleyamberley on January 18th, 2011 08:47 am (UTC)
38 books in 38 years
I suppose 12 is too young for Dick Francis horse racing thrillers, but maybe by the time she (or he) reads all the others she'll be old enough for those.
kitmizkit on January 18th, 2011 08:52 am (UTC)
Re: 38 books in 38 years
I expect that depends on the kid. I've only read one Francis novel, but it would've been right up my alley when I was 12. It's a great suggestion!

(I love asking LJ for book recs. <3) :)
Amberleyamberley on January 18th, 2011 09:13 am (UTC)
Re: 38 books in 38 years
And book-lovers do so love recommending books, so thanks for asking!

As on all threads involving kids and books, parents may also find useful The New York Times Parent's Guide to the Best Books for Children (3rd edition) by Eden Ross Lipson (although its index by subject only shows 8 horse books/series), and The Read-Aloud Handbook (6th edition) by Jim Trelease.

Miss Amber Sweet is addicted to the knifeamber_sweet on January 19th, 2011 05:56 pm (UTC)
Robin D. Owens' Summoning Series [Guardian of Honor/Sorceress of Faith/Protector of the Flight/Keepers of the Flame/Echoes in the Dark].

Volarons (flying horses) feature prominently :)
Miss Amber Sweet is addicted to the knifeamber_sweet on January 19th, 2011 05:57 pm (UTC)
volarans* sorry :)
Sarah Rees Brennansarahtales on January 22nd, 2011 01:06 pm (UTC)
Flambards by K.M. Peyton omigosh.