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A Good Horse: Book Two of the Horses of Oak Valley Ranch [Kindle Edition]

Jane Smiley
4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (20 customer reviews)

Print List Price: $6.99
Kindle Price: $5.98
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Sold by: Random House LLC

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Book Description

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.

From the Hardcover edition.

Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

Gr 6-8–Eighth-grader Abby Lovitt loves caring for her family's nine horses. Her favorites are Jack and Black George, though she runs the risk of losing both. Black George is an excellent jumper, and after he and Abby win first place in a contest, he is sold for a considerable profit. The family receives a series of letters from a private investigator indicating that Jack's mother fits the description of a stolen horse, meaning that she might have been sold to them without the true owner's permission. The illustrations of horse equipment add some depth to the story; however, the plot falls flat. The level of depth Smiley uses to describe some details, as when Abby and her friends play the “Adverbs” game, will not engage most readers, and the laborious descriptions of Abby's riding experiences will only appeal to avid horse lovers. The side stories involving Abby's brother moving out because of their strict, puritanical father is confusing and the story of Abby and her friends acting out Julius Caesar might leave readers a bit lost. Instead of adding detail, these elements make for a murky, anticlimactic plot.–Adrienne L. Strock, Maricopa County Library District, AZ . (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

From Booklist

Picking up shortly after The Georges and the Jewels (2009), this patient read continues the story of 13-year-old Abby, who finds herself feeling protective of Jack, a colt who might be the offspring of a stolen mare with an impressive pedigree. Smiley writes beautifully about Abby’s dawning awareness of the small sadnesses of life, though the book is so thoroughly obsessed with horse culture that only serious enthusiasts will willingly penetrate the long passages about riding, grooming, training, jumping, etc. But for that contingent, Smiley is a godsend—few other authors can balance dreaminess and realism so deftly. Grades 4-8. --Daniel Kraus

Product Details

  • File Size: 1496 KB
  • Print Length: 258 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 0375862307
  • Publisher: Knopf Books for Young Readers (October 26, 2010)
  • Sold by: Random House LLC
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B003F3FJXM
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #276,908 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
23 of 23 people found the following review helpful
It's the 1960s, and Abby Lovitt is starting the eighth grade. She lives with her very strict but loving parents on their 26-acre horse ranch in California. The family business consists of buying horses at low prices, getting them healthy and handsome, training them, and selling them for a profit. Abby knows she shouldn't get attached to the horses, but she can't help herself, especially when they come across an extra special one like Black George.

Black George is beautiful and a gifted jumper. He sails over jumps with ease and enthusiasm, and loves doing it. Abby's father decides to enter his daughter and Black George in a high-class horse show. With more exposure to the upper class society, they might catch the eye of a wealthy horse buyer and get top dollar for selling Black George. Abby loves riding him and will be sad to see him sold, but she understands. She also knows that training him to his full potential will make him even better. But what she doesn't comprehend is why her heart seizes up in fear when her teacher raises the jump height to over four feet when she knows Black George can do it.

Abby's most favorite horse at the ranch is little Jack, the orphaned colt. His mom, Brown Jewel (or Pearl, as Abby secretly called her), died from colic not long after giving birth to Jack. Since then, Abby has taken over the care and training of Jack, and they have grown very close. But then a letter arrives from a private investigator who is working for a rich Texas rancher. A while back, someone had stolen a few of the rancher's prize horses, and the investigator suspects that the Lovitts had purchased one of the stolen mares. If Brown Jewel is proven to be the stolen mare, the owners are going to want to take her colt back to Texas.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Good Read February 5, 2011
For authenticity in horse novels, Jane Smiley knows her horse details. In the second novel in her series of horse books for kids, A Good Horse, she tells the story of Abby and the quarter horse gelding Black George. The story is compounded into a mystery when it's apparent Abby's favorite colt, Jack, may have been born to a stolen mare. Black George is a talented jumper, and Abby is more of a country-taught type of rider. Can she and Black George outperform the snooty riders at the upscale horse show at the coast? She's mostly schooled Black George on her own, with limited professional coaching. Problems arise when she realizes the night before a big show that she's outgrown her riding clothes. Panic claims her nerves when she sees her sometimes coach raise the jumps to four feet, even though Abby knows George can jump that high easily. Can she? And can she solve the mystery about the yearling, Jack?
You may think that reading horse books for kids isn't for you, but please realize that most kids' books are great high-quality writing and top-notch stories. Authors such as Jane Smiley, who truly knows horses, continue to provide us with great horse stories. Give A Good Horse, and its prequel The Georges and The Jewels a try. You'll be impressed, no matter what your age.--Robin Moore
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A Good Horse, not a Great Horse November 23, 2011
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
A Good Horse is a good horse book. It's well-written, and really puts you in the writer's too-tight riding boots. However, I felt that the ending was a little too cliche, and somewhat abrupt. The experiences in the book are believable, and for actual riders hold very true - when you know the height of the jumps, it makes them seem infinitely more difficult! All in all, it was a good, quick read that was well put together, but could've used an extra chapter or two at the end to finish things off.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I have a granddaughter whose passion is horses. This is a wholesome read with some really terrific life lessons in it. I read it before giving it to her as a gift.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Pretty Good January 23, 2014
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I like but don't love this series of books. They were recommended by a friend because I'm into natural horsemanship, but I didn't feel that they represented the topic all that well. It sort of implied that a couple of "tricks" would fix almost any horse in no time. Still, for the youth audience, they are nice books and good reading.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Great! May 11, 2014
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
I love this book and would recommend it for young readers that like horses. About ages 10-13. It is a little confusing linear the middle but overall, this book was great!
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Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
One of my granddaughters is a voracious reader who loves horses. I am a voracious reader who loves Jane Smiley novels. I sent this book to my granddaughter (and downloaded a copy to my own computer so I could read what she was about to read). Both of us enjoyed the book and recommend it (and the author). As I said in the caption, this book is so good it generated a thank you note from my granddaughter!
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5.0 out of 5 stars I haven't read a better book October 21, 2013
Format:Kindle Edition
10/21/13 by a twelve year old

I loved this book I love horses and would recommend this to any one who loves horses. Reading this made my super happy or sad they way Jane Smiley told her story I couldn't believe how involved I got. You should read this book it was fantastic
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Best Book Ever!🐴
This book was amazing and written so well. It totally takes you in the life of a horse lover. I'd recommend it to a person looking for a good book based on the life of a horse... Read more
Published 1 month ago by Sharone Lashell Young
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Even though this was written with a teen girl audience in mind, I found it charming and interesting.
Published 2 months ago by DEBORAH Thompson
4.0 out of 5 stars Good
Good it' cool.It could have been better.The ending should be nicer. Anyway it is pretty good. I like these books.
Published 10 months ago by reileya
5.0 out of 5 stars A Good Horse: Book Two of the Horses of Oak Valley Rancy
A friend's granddaughter loves books on horses and my wife and I gave it to her for Christmas. She sent us a thank you note telling us how much she loved the book.
Published 14 months ago by lover of classics
5.0 out of 5 stars great series.
grand daughter loves the story. Made a great birthday gift. She is already ready additional stories in the series. I am always looking for the perfect birthday gift.
Published 15 months ago by Judith R. Smith
4.0 out of 5 stars Nice for the young crowd.
I think all adolescent girls who are horse crazy will enjoy this book. I bought it for my great-granddaughter and I know that she will love the book.
Published 21 months ago by Zanna
5.0 out of 5 stars I love horses
This is a fantastic book for those whoose mothers are ragging on them about not reading enough challengeing literature. Read more
Published 23 months ago by GP
5.0 out of 5 stars Amazing
This is a heart felt story one of my favorite books and author's it is just amazing I think everyone should read it
Published on February 1, 2013 by Kristen Smith
5.0 out of 5 stars nice product/ arrived in great condition
paperbacks can be tricky, but this arrived in perfect condition. it was exactly what i wanted as a gift for my stepsister. she loved reading and horses. cant go wrong!
Published on January 19, 2013 by erin g
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