Gigi Amateau is the author of the young adult novels Claiming Georgia Tate and A Certain Strain of Peculiar. She lives in Richmond, Virginia.
Gr 4-8-On the night that Chancey is born, a comet streaks across the sky, a sign that a horse of great beauty and wisdom has been born. However, it seems unlikely that the Appaloosa will fulfill this prophecy. He is albino and his lack of pigmentation is not only considered unattractive, but also leads to serious health problems. He works as a school horse for many years, teaching children how to ride, but when his owner has a financial crisis, Chancey is left in a field and neglected for months, before finding a new life at Mrs. Maiden's Maury River Stables. In his old age, Chancey learns to love and trust again as he bonds with his new rider, Claire, a girl who has also suffered loss. When his deteriorating eyesight makes it impossible for him to jump in competition, he embarks on a new career as a therapy horse. He and Claire meet a young boy who has terminal cancer, and they work together to give Trevor the experience of being a champion. Narrated by Chancey, the novel has many details about equine behavior and horsemanship that lend authenticity, although there are a few awkward moments when these descriptions interrupt the flow of the narrative. However, the story is compelling, and the chapters about Chancey's work as a therapy horse are particularly moving, especially the one relating the culmination of his work with Trevor. A highly enjoyable read.-Kathleen E. Gruver, Burlington County Library, Westampton, NJ Copyright 2008 Reed Business Information.