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Other titles in the Horses of Oak Valley Ranch series:
The Georges and the Jewelsby Jane Smiley
Synopses & Reviews
A Pulitzer Prize winner makes her debut for young readers.
Jane Smiley makes her debut for young readers in this stirring novel set on a California horse ranch in the 1960s. Seventh-grader Abby Lovitt has always been more at ease with horses than with people. Her father insists they call all the mares “Jewel” and all the geldings “George” and warns Abby not to get attached: the horses are there to be sold. But with all the stress at school (the Big Four have turned against Abby and her friends) and home (her brother Danny is gone—for good, it seems—and now Daddy wont speak his name), Abby seeks refuge with the Georges and the Jewels. But theres one gelding on her familys farm that gives her no end of trouble: the horse who wont meet her gaze, the horse who bucks her right off every chance he gets, the horse her father makes her ride and train, every day. She calls him the Ornery George.
"Pulitzer Prize — winner Smiley's first novel for young readers is a lyrical meditation on horses, families and the vicissitudes of peer relationships among girls. Twelve-year-old Abby lives on a California horse farm with her evangelical parents. It is the mid-1960s, and references to Dusty Springfield records and portable hi-fis contrast with the pastoral setting, where the struggle is mainly between Abby and 'Ornery George,' one of the gelding horses (all the horses are named George or Jewel by Abby's father to eschew unnecessary attachments). A wise and kindly horse trainer eventually teaches Abby how to temper Ornery George, paralleling the nuanced lessons she learns about her relationship with her father, his fraught dealings with Abby's older brother, Danny, as well as the bullying by the 'Big Four' girls at school. As might be expected from the skilled hands of Smiley (A Thousand Acres), there are additional synchronous story lines, such as the ways an unexpected and spirited colt named Jack becomes accepted into the human and horse families. Many will find it difficult to say goodbye to Abby, Jack and especially to Ornery George. Ages 10 — up. (Sept.)" Publishers Weekly (Starred Review) (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
The author of the Pulitzer Prize-winning novel "A Thousand Acres" makes her debut for young readers with this novel set on a California horse ranch in the 1960s, where a girl finds refuge from her problems with the horses.
About the Author
Jane Smiley is the author of many novels for adults as well as three works of nonfiction. She won the Pulitzer Prize for A Thousand Acres and was inducted into the American Academy of Arts and Letters in 2001. She lives in California.
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