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Horse Diaries #1: Elska Paperback – March 24, 2009


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Horse Diaries #1: Elska + Horse Diaries #2: Bell's Star + Horse Diaries #3: Koda
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Product Details

  • Age Range: 8 - 12 years
  • Grade Level: 3 - 7
  • Lexile Measure: 660L (What's this?)
  • Series: Horse Diaries (Book 1)
  • Paperback: 144 pages
  • Publisher: Random House Books for Young Readers (March 24, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0375847324
  • ISBN-13: 978-0375847325
  • Product Dimensions: 7.1 x 5.5 x 0.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 4.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (76 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #16,996 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

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 --This text refers to the Library Binding edition.

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.

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Customer Reviews

4.8 out of 5 stars
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My granddaughter loves horses and she loves these books.
Alvie Charles Mills
My 6 1/2 year old daughter loved this book so much that she read the entire book in a few hours time.
Sarah Schuman
I think this book was really good and a simple fast read.
Laura

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

34 of 36 people found the following review helpful By Rebecca Herman HALL OF FAMEVINE VOICE on April 9, 2009
Format: Paperback
In Iceland, around the year 1000 A.D., most Icelandic horses spend their summers roaming free and their winters on farms working for humans. This book is the story of one young Icelandic filly. She is born in the summer, and a few months later when fall arrives, she and part of her herd are brought to the farm of a human family. The family's young daughter, Amma, becomes very close to the filly, and names her Elska. The horse and the young girl develop a strong bond. However, Amma's father decides to trade Elska to a neighbor, confusing Elska and breaking Amma's heart. Will they ever be reunited again?

Told from the point of view of Elska, this was a cute story that is sure to appeal to young girls who love horses, particularly those who also enjoy historical fiction. The book teaches some interesting facts about life for both horses and humans in Iceland in this time period. The illustrations were very well done and were adorable. I would definitely recommend this book to the target audience.
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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful A Kid's Review on January 2, 2012
Format: Paperback
this book is the best book i have ever read.
i usually don't like to read but this book made me want to read forever
I LOVE IT MORE THEN ANY OTHER BOOK I HAVE EVER READ.
everything about it is intrusting and fun!!!!
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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful By Kevin J. Raymond on July 24, 2011
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
My daughter is seven and HORSE CRAZY. These are some of her favorite horse stories. I think she likes them because they're told from the perspective of the horse (as if the horse is writing the diary). They are relatively simple, but definitely entertaining and interesting. There's always something new to learn in each one, too, be it a new place or something historical or an interesting horse fact. In Elska, we learned about Icelandic horses and gaits that are specific to them. It also got my daughter (and me) interested in learning more about the geography and history of Iceland. My ten-year-old enjoys them as a quick easy read, but they are probably a little too simple for that age to really get "into". For grade-school kids, especially those who love horses, I highly recommend this series.
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12 of 13 people found the following review helpful A Kid's Review on March 1, 2010
Format: Paperback
This is a very nice book. The story of Elska is very cool. The author let's Elska tell the story! Elska is seperated from Amma, the girl that loves her so much, and is sold to a neighbor. She runs away to see Amma but it didn't quite work out because the father got blamed for stealing the horse but it was really Elska's fault. Amma doesn't get to see Elska for a very long time but soon, one day, Elska saw a group of riders coming to the farm and one is Amma! Amma is so happy but bursts into tears and runs. She comes back later to see Elska and go for a quick ride but she gets caught and Amma falls into a river when she dismounts. It was up to Elska to save her. I don't want to give it all away though so that's all I will say! I think this book has a great Beginning, Middle, and end. It even has some facts about horses in the last few pages. I have to admit the story is a bit short though. But it is long enough to like it! It's still a good book!
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Deborah Verlen TOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on February 7, 2010
Format: Paperback
Elska's story starts in 1000 A.D. in Iceland and consists of her first memories as a foal. Elska grows up with young Amma, but as fate would have Alfvaldr, the chieftain sees the pony and likes her spirit and he is given to him. Amma finds her pony and takes off on her one day meaning to ride her and return before anyone with Alfvardr's camp realizes Elska is missing. Amma falls in the river and Elska rescues her and girl and pony are reunited.

The story is a sweet one and you get a feel for the Icelandic pony The end of the book details some facts about Iceland which includes the fact that the Icelandic pony is one of the purest lines in the equine world. No other breed of horse is allowed in Iceland and any Icelandic pony that is exported out of the country is not allowed back in.

Part of the draw of this book for me was how the author captured the spirit of the horse. I spent a month in Iceland on a nature tour and some of my fondest memories are of the Icelandic horses cavorting and playing in the fields. This is such a funny little horse--stocky, but agile; serious, but playful. I thought the author showed the horse's personality and breed characteristics well.

If you ever have a chance to go to Iceland make sure you schedule some time to view the horses.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By rjh on December 4, 2011
Format: Paperback
"Horse Diaries" is the best book ever! I think "Horse Diaries" is the best best best book ever! I wish I had the whole series of "Horse Diaries." I just finished the book today! I hope I can read the other "Horse Diaries" books! I love "Horse Diaries!" I hope I can read "Bell's Star" because it sounds good! I missed my lunch because I was too busy reading "Horse Diaries." And now I am on the computer writing a review about "Horse Diaries!
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Tassie Masters on January 15, 2011
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Elka was one of the best books i've ever read. I am 9 yrs old and in 4th grade. I'm about to turn 10. It is a great book for 4th graders and up. It has some hard words, but it's a very good book. I think the whole series will be good, and I will be happy to read all of them. Horse Lover- Breezer Bri
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful A Kid's Review on February 9, 2011
Format: Paperback
I fell in love with Elska in the first chapter. I am 11 years old and in the fifth grade. I loved this book so much that I read it in 2 days. I didn't want the book to end. I am excited to get book two in the mail and start reading! I would recommend this book to anyone who loves horses and history.
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