________________ CM . . . . Volume XIV Number 15 . . . .March 21, 2008


JB Andrew: Mustang Magic. (True Horse Stories).

Judy Andrekson. Illustrated by David Parkins.
Toronto, ON: Tundra Books, 2008.
78 pp., pbk., $8.99.
ISBN 978-0-88776-837-8.

Subject Headings:
JB Andrew (Horse)-Juvenile literature.
Mustang-Juvenile literature.
Wild horses-Juvenile literature.
Dressage-Juvenile literature.

Grades 3-6 / Ages 8-11.

Review by Lizanne Eastwood.

**** /4

Reviewed from final pages.



JB Andrew: Mustang Magic, the third book in the "True Horse Stories" series, is the saga of a wild mustang that was born free in the mountainous scrublands of Nevada but rose to be a prince in the dressage ring. After living a life free from any human contact, the yearling was captured by the Bureau of Land Management separated from his mother and the rest of the herd, never to roam free again.

     The colt Andy, as he was named by the prison inmates was sent to the Colorado State Prison in Canon City to take part in an innovative program called WHIP (Wild Horse Inmate Program) in which inmates, while learning new career skills, had the job of breaking and training the young horses, readying them for adoption. After just a month of breaking, the young colt was sold to Ginger Scott, a horsewoman of native heritage. She was thrilled to be able to purchase a horse from this program, and, for her, a mustang was the perfect choice. She never dreamed he would turn out to be one of the best and most famous nationally recognized ambassadors for mustang adoptions.

Andy got used to the confinement of stalls, the tickle of kisses on his muzzle, the high-pitched voices and gentle hands of the women who cared for him, and the hustle and bustle of the stable. He put on some weight. His coat shone richly from the good diet and regular grooming he received. And he kept on growing, adding another three inches to his already tall frame. He was growing more handsome and tamer with every passing day.

     This is a gripping story, full of tension and real life descriptions of the horse renamed JB (Jailbird) Andrews and the people who cared for and trained him. The gawky and tall young horse was trained for the elite sport of dressage. He rose through the ranks, surprising all who saw him. I learned so much about a sport that, until reading this book, I had never heard of. The descriptions of his training exercises and competitions were interesting, and I imagine young horse lovers would be enthralled. JB was the only wild mustang to ever achieve fame and success in this sport.

      Judy Andrekson’s knowledge and love of horses is very apparent. Her writing style is simple for young readers, but any adults who might choose to read the books in this series as a family read-alouds will not be bored. They are fast-paced and full of action. In fact, when JB Andrews, rising quickly in the competitive dressage arena, injures his leg, the tension in the story rose. "Would the injured joint plague his career? Only time would answer that question."

      David Parkins' illustrations are wonderful. The personalities of the horse and his trainers shine brightly in each picture. The photo on the front of the book shows the majestic horse in all his glory. I would highly recommend this book to emerging readers, horse lovers or not.

Highly Recommended.

Lizanne Eastwood is a Community Literacy Coordinator with the Columbia Basin Alliance for Literacy, a casual library employee and a home schooling parent of two active teenagers in Grand Forks, BC.

To comment on this title or this review, send mail to cm@umanitoba.ca.

Copyright © the Manitoba Library Association. Reproduction for personal use is permitted only if this copyright notice is maintained. Any other reproduction is prohibited without permission.
Published by
The Manitoba Library Association
ISSN 1201-9364
Hosted by the University of Manitoba.