When eighth grader Abby Lovitt looks out at those pure-gold rolling hills, she knows there's no place she'd rather be than her family's ranch--even with all the hard work of tending to nine horses. But some chores are no work at all, like grooming young Jack. At eight months, his rough foal coat has shed out, leaving a smooth, rich silk, like chocolate. As for Black George, such a good horse, it turns out he's a natural jumper. When he and Abby clear four feet easy as pie, heads start to turn at the ring--"buyers'" heads--and Abby knows Daddy won't turn down a good offer. Then a letter arrives from a private investigator, and suddenly Abby stands to lose not one horse but two. The letter states that Jack's mare may have been sold to the Lovitts as stolen goods. A mystery unfolds, more surprising than Abby could ever expect. Will she lose her beloved Jack to his rightful owners? Pulitzer Prize winner Jane Smiley raises horses of her own, and her affection and expertise shine through in this inviting horse novel for young readers, set in 1960s California horse country and featuring characters from "The Georges and the Jewels."
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by Jane Smiley
"Angela Goethals's performance highlights eighth-grader Abby Lovitt's practical and calm manner in this story, set on a horse ranch in California. Like Abby herself, Goethals is most animated when Abby is working with horses, particularly her foal, Jack. Goethals effectively introduces a note of alarm when Abby's family's ownership of Jack comes into question. Later, Goethals adds a tone of panic when Abby becomes frightened while performing jumps in a horse show. The focus here is on horsemanship, but Goethals deepens the story with her vocal characterizations of the people in Abby's world. She's especially skilled at creating male voices as well as that of the crisply efficient riding instructor, Miss Slater. This audiobook will be most appealing to horse lovers but will also be welcome family listening. A.F. © AudioFile 2015, Portland, Maine"
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