CM . . . . Volume XV Number 21. . . .June 12, 2009.
Horses. (Crabtree Contact).
Elizabeth J. Baldwin.
St. Catharines, ON: Crabtree, 2009.
32 pp., pbk. & hc., $10.95 (pbk.), $20.76 (RLB).
ISBN 978-0-7787-3797-1 (pbk.), ISBN 978-0-7787-3775-9 (RLB).
Grades 5-8 / Ages 10-13.
Review by Margaret Snow.
Elizabeth J. Baldwin has created an awesome overview for children interested in horses. In this 32 page book, she has outlined the basic history of the human/horse connection along with the horse’s uses today, including farming, showing, racing, the RCMP, eventing, driving, rodeo and even horse soccer. The reader learns the differences among three of the 500 known breeds and is given a thorough explanation of terminology, such as “horse power” and “hands.” Adults would appreciate the section at the back of the book which outlines what one should look for when signing up for lessons to be sure you have a qualified expert.
Do you want to learn to ride or drive horses? Search online or look in your local phone book to find riding schools.
Visit several places before you make up your mind. Watch some lessons and ask yourself these questions:
Is everyone wearing helmets.
Is the teacher nice to students?
Do the horses look well taken care of?
Is the place tidy?
All these things are important if you want to have fun learning about horses.
Baldwin is from Central Texas and had taught horsemanship and training for over 40 years. Since retiring, she has written numerous articles on horses and two previous books, Horses for Writers and How to Have a Civilized Horse.
Most of the key ingredients one discusses when teaching the text features of nonfiction with children are present: table of content, headings, subtitles, beautiful colour photos, highlighting for effect, text boxes, labelled diagrams, glossary, web addresses for more information and an index.
The two recommended websites were free, worked well and contained some advertising but also some great horse games, stories, crafts, contests, photos and more to further one's quest for information. Note - the two youtube sites didn't work - the screen stated it was an address malfunction.
The cover effectively captures the attention of the student by giving an excellent overall view of what's to follow. The limited amount of text is nonthreatening for students with basic reading skills. Horses certainly has its place with the target audience.
Margaret Snow is a teacher-librarian and literacy teacher in a small, rural school in southwestern Ontario.
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