Nov 12, 2019

Homeschool Review Crew: Mattie Richardson

What do you do when your daughter loves to read, loves horses, and is not as interested in history as she ought to be? Give her Mattie Richardson's Horses in History Series! We were asked to review these four books from Author Mattie Richardson/Appaloosy Books and Abbie has been greatly enjoying them!

We were sent these four books in the mail with a very cute sticker on the package, which my daughter cut out and kept, of course. 

These books are historical fiction, each story being told from the perspective a horse who was right in the middle of the action. Although called a "series", but they are also stand-alone and you can read them in any order because they each focus on a different historical period.

These books are aimed at readers between the ages of 8 to 14. My 12 year old found them to be quick, easy reads and I was able to read each of them in a single sitting. 

Appaloosy, which was written when the author was only thirteen years old, is the story of Storm, an Appaloosa who is born into a herd owned by the Nez Perce tribe. He is present when Chief Joseph surrenders and is taken by the soldiers. He escapes and his adventures, as well as his search for freedom, begins. 

Day and Night tells the story of brother horses, Tucker and Shiloh who are Morgan horses. At the beginning of the book, they are sold to different owners and go their separate ways. Shiloh is stolen a few times and winds up in the Confederate Army with a girl named Sarah who is pretending to a be boy so she can volunteer. Tucker is also stolen and taken into the Union Army to serve with a man named Ben. They take turns telling of their experiences in the war and eventually get to their happy ending. 

Golden Sunrise is the story of the Golden Palomino mare named Cheyenne. Brought to the Mexican territory of Texas by her young owner, Jared, Cheyenne lives a happy life as a farm horse. But then the Texas Revolution begins and she must go join up as a volunteer with Jared. This story has a tragedy in it. It is about the Alamo, after all, but it does end on a high note, with hope and the victory of Texas over Santa Ana!

Dusty's Trail is the story of an American Quarter horse named Dusty. This was great story of how Dusty, a disrespectful, lazy scaredy-cat and his owner Levi joined up with the Pony Express. Not only did we learn a lot about the history of the mail, Dusty learned a lesson or two about bravery and trust. 

Each book contains vocabulary words at the front of the book, for example, Dusty's Trail has words such as "cow sense", "mochila" (the mail pack), and Pauite Indians. And a couple of the books have extra historical information at the end. 

To go along with the book, Day and Night, is an Enrichment Guide that we were sent in PDF form. This is currently the only book that has a Guide, but she is working on guides for the others. There are 8 parts to the Guide. The first 7 sections contain:
  •  Reading Comprehension questions: for example, Describe who Shiloh was stolen by?
  • Vocabulary quizzes with word banks and fill-in-the-blank sentences
  • History: more info about a topic from the story or questions
  • A Soldier's Life: more info about what it was like to be a Civil War soldier on a daily basis, for example, the steps to loading their rifles, and a link to listen to bugle calls 
  • Living History Segment: making a canteen, listening to drumming patterns, or "enjoying" hardtack or other crafts or games
  • Geography: discusses rivers important to the war, landmarks, maps and the "Anaconda Plan"
  • Horses and History: horse terms, the functions of cavalry in the war, horse personalities, a coloring page and more
  • Creating your own Stories: encourages the student to write with a short exercise and some info, for example, character development, settings, and parts of a story
  • Biography: a little info about important people in the war that may or may not have actually been in the story
We did not use the Enrichment Guide but definitely would if we were reading these books for a history supplement for school. 

We had a good time reading the books. For my daughter they were a quick, easy read in only a couple of sittings. She does not like history, but she does like horses and she definitely enjoyed these books!

We do recommend Mattie Richardson's Horses in History Series! They are a fun, delightful read and an enjoyable way to slip a little history into your horse-lover's day. My favorites were Dusty's Trail and Golden Sunrise simply because those are two of my favorite time periods in history, but they were all good. Check them out for yourself!

Book Set: Appaloosy, Dusty's Trail, Golden Sunrise & Day and Night {Mattie Richardson/Appaloosy Books Reviews}

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