The first in the Horse Diaries series, this lively chapter book is set in Iceland around 1000 BCE, where the filly named Elska by “the people” tells of her life, from her birth in the short summer months to her fun with the herd, running and playing through the long, cold, dark winter, and then her pride as she grows bigger and works, “circling around to gather up all the sheep.” The setting is always a dynamic part of the novel, and there are photos and notes at the back about the Icelandic horse and its cultural significance. But there is a real story, too, as Elska bonds with a young girl and then is wrenched away. Sanderson’s occasional, beautiful drawings add to the drama. A must for horse lovers, the cozy and exciting adventure will draw a wide audience. Grades 3-6. --Hazel Rochman
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About the Author
Catherine Hapka has written more than 150 books for children and young adults—many about horses, including several in the Saddle Club and Pine Hollow series. A lifelong horse lover, she rides several times per week and appreciates horses of all breeds. She lives on a small farm in Chester County, Pennsylvania.
Ruth Sanderson has illustrated books for children of all ages, including Summer Pony
and Winter Pony.
She lives with her family in Ware, Massachusetts, and her favorite hobby is horseback riding.