||Dog Ear Publishing
||Nov. 18, 2011
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Backyard Horse Tales Sox 2nd Edition
Sox tale is family friendly. Reading level age 8 to adult horse lovers.
Sox was born with a brave heart and an in-your-face attitude. He was also
born with a leg that was not quite right. His courage and complete disregard for his handicap inspires his little friend Emma.
Eleven year-old Emma struggles with a learning disability. The lonely child, who's mother is deployed to Iraq, befriends Sox and an unbreakable bond is formed. Readers share in Sox and Emma's adventures, friends, challenges, and victories.
Sox is a heart-warming tale for every child who has ever dreamed of a special horse. It holds a warm place in the hearts of anyone who has loved an equine partner.
Awake now, I knew this was no dream! I panicked, scrambled up next to my mom, and blinked my eyes. The three-board fence that surrounded our paddock had come to life! Small humans were invading our sanctuary. They stuck out along the front part of the fence line that ran parallel to the road. These scary little creatures continued around the corner and lined up along the side fence that ran next to the driveway. And they were all pointing at ME!
A line of pine trees that cast dark shadows and harbored various furry little creatures that scurried about beneath them was the most frightening place in my world, until that moment. Mom told me yesterday, or maybe the day before, that the long eared creatures were rabbits and they had made a nest under the low hanging branches.
"But what are the ones with the bushy tails that zip up to the top of the trees and back down, Mom?"
"The larger bushy tailed animals are squirrels, the smaller ones with the stripe down their backs are chipmunks. They both like to run and play in the trees, son."
I still wasn't sure that I liked the idea of all those strange creatures lurking around, but I made a beeline for those tall pines and their dark scary shadows. It was as far away as I could get from the strange, small humans protruding from two sides of our enclosure. I would have run all the way to the back fence line, but I couldn't leave Mom to face the threat alone. She was so busy eating grass that she didn't notice the invasion.
I mustered up all the courage that my four days of life would allow, and charged up to my mother to warn her. I bumped her head and nipped her neck to get her attention, but she wouldn't budge. So I said, "Run, Momma! We are in danger!"
But she still didn't stop grazing? She lifted her head to stare at the scary sight, but she didn't turn and run?
Instead, she just nuzzled me. "You are so brave to come warn me, son." She went on to say, "What you're worried about isn't a danger. Those little humans are called 'children.' And just like you, they're small because they are still young."
"But what is that scary loud screeching noise they're making, Mom?"
Mom giggled at that. "The squealing sound is their way of expressing the joy that they feel at the sight of a new foal you, honey."
Now I was intrigued and feeling a little braver. And I had to admit that being the center of attention appealed to me. I pranced up close to the front fence where the smallest children stood. I tossed my head and arched my neck, and then I snorted at them. They squealed even louder, jumped up and down, and smacked their hands together, over and over, real fast. OK! On second thought, their reaction was a little too scary for me, so I hightailed it back to Mom.
She laughed and said, "They must really like your performance, to clap and cheer so loudly."
It is not that I didn't believe Mom; I just wanted to test her theory. I approached the children at a slow walk. I got closer to them this time. I snorted and turned quickly in the opposite direction, and took off at a run. The childrens' excited cheering and enthusiastic clapping felt encouraging, so I ran a little faster. Yes! It felt good! I let loose a couple of little hops, kicking out my hind legs.
Mom praised my little maneuvers. "Nice crow hops, Son."
Wow! Mom was suddenly running alongside me.
"I'll race you, Mom!"
She was amused by my challenge. "You will have to grow a lot more, and get better with your legs before you can race with me." She laughed, and paced herself along with me for a couple of laps around the paddock.
That night I dreamt of growing big, and racing my mother across a large field without any fences to stop us.
I looked forward to learning something new each day. I discovered that I loved to run; I learned to stop smoothly without getting my legs tangled, and to quickly turn around. I perfected my crow hopping style. And believe it or not, I learned how to rear up on my hind legs. That was the most fun of all. I would paw at the air and practice acting fierce, much to the delight of the children in my neighborhood fan club.
5 Stars from Readers Favorite 5/10/12
Backyard Horse Tales / Sox 2nd Edition
By Jackie Anton
Reviewed by Joy H. for Readers Favorite
Emma is not happy with her current living conditions. When Emma’s parents split a few years earlier, this forced her mom to join the Army in order to make a decent living. Things were fine until Emma’s mom was deployed to Iraq, and Emma was forced to come and live with her grandmother. Being brought up in the lights and blitz of city life, moving to the country didn’t suit Emma at all. And those clothes, why does her grandmother have to dress her like that for school? But Emma’s grandmother, her mom’s mother, wouldn’t let Emma complain to her mom about her unlikable conditions, instead she told Emma to write her thoughts in her journal for her mom to read when she returned home from Iraq. Meanwhile, Sox, a foal with a handicap, is living in the barn on the farm. Just as Emma, Sox is lonely because of his disabilities. Soon Sox and Emma find that they can encourage each other and help one another’s loneliness, so they form a friendship that will take them though a whirlwind of difficulties and excitements in their journey ahead.
This is a heartwarming story about a girl and her horse. Not just any girl, not just any horse. Each had their own disability, but each in a unique way helped the other through their lonely times and troubles. You will laugh a little and cry a little as you follow the journey of these two buddies. You will see the changes and growing up that is happening to Emma through reading her journal entries. You will find out what happens with these two loyal friends. Will they stay together forever? I highly encourage you to grab a copy of this book for your young reader. “Backyard Horse Tales” will be a story they will want to read over and over.
Jackie O'Neal, Author Media Services
Anton's innovative approach at creating Sox's narrative voice is compelling. Anton's vibrant language and striking details brought Sox's world alive, so the reader can share in the excitement the characters feel as they navigate the reining sport arena, and compete.
The narration is reminiscent of Anna Sewell's Black Beauty, a book Anton devoured while in middle school. "Anna Sewell's book was the first book I recall l that looked at life through the eyes of a horse. Written in 1877, the story is still beloved by today's readers, and my nine-year old grand -daughter bought it with her birthday money, " she said.
Anton's vivid narrative contains effective dramatization, and sensory language which keeps the story moving at an almost breathless pace.
The book's structure works well comprising Emma's diary entries, dialogue, and Sox's powerful narrative voice. Emma, a well-realized eleven year old, enjoys a unique bond with the American Quarter Horse. Both appear to be going through separation anxiety. Anton deftly reveals how Sox is weaned from being a "suckling foal" and Emma, too is separated from her mother deployed in Iraq.
Eventually, the reader captures a universal truth as Anton skillfully develops the relationship between Emma and Sox- the truth that humans can allow themselves to be one with all of creation. Animal lovers will find this book irresistible.
Tom Mach, Author
"I found it fascinating to experience the life of Sox as told by him. Author Jackie Anton weaves an interesting tale from the horse's point of view, Readers of all ages will find the shared challenges, and closeness that develop between Sox and his human friend Emma throughout the story both entertaining and heartwarming."
This review is from the cover of Backyard Horse Tales / Sox 2nd Edition.
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