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Horse Dreams (Backyard Horses Book 1) [Kindle Edition]

Dandi Daley Mackall
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (101 customer reviews)

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Print List Price: $5.99
Kindle Price: $4.61
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Book Description

Fourth-grader Ellie James has a great imagination. She spends a lot of time daydreaming of owning a black stallion show horse and winning trophies in the horse show. But when the answer to all her dreams and prayers gallops into her life, will Ellie be able to recognize it? Join Ellie and her quirky family in their exciting, horse-loving adventures.

Product Details

  • File Size: 331 KB
  • Print Length: 160 pages
  • Publisher: Tyndale House Publishers, Inc. (August 17, 2011)
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B005EZ0BMI
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Lending: Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #353,442 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great Christian Fiction for Elementary Horse Lovers! August 1, 2012
Backyard Horses was exactly the series I was looking for for my daughters, who love Jesus, love horses, and are in 2nd grade. Miss Mackall also wrote a series for older readers called "Winnie the Horse Gentler" and I tried that first but I'd recommend it for middle school students and up. Besides being harder to read, those books sometimes deal with harder issues that wouldn't be understandable by anyone younger than pre-teen. Backyard Horses, however, is a fairly new series and is written at around a 2nd/3rd grade reading level. Love, love, love this series!

My daughters love Ellie, the heroine of the story! There are so far 4 books in the series and we started with book 1 in order to read them, well, in order. The heroine of the story, Ellie, is a sweet, oftentimes feisty, day-dreaming 4th grader. In the first book, she often day-dreamed about her own horse. She decides to do a "science" experiment... she'll "beg, cry, and pray" for a horse of her own and find out what way works best for getting horses. I don't think it's spoiling anything to say that God will answer her prayer... but in a different way than she imagined.

I highly recommend this book to elementary school children. It's filled with a good story, important lessons, and a little girl who puts her hope in God. I also highly recommend Cowboy Colt, Chasing Dream, and Nightmare, the others in the series. By the way, you can earn this book for free by participating in Tyndale's Summer Reading Program through the end of August!
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Good Title to Have on the Shelf! September 8, 2011
Horse Dreams by Dandi Daley Mackall is the first book in her new "Backyard Horses" series. Ellie James passionately loves horses and dreams constantly of the horse she would love to own. In her mind's eye, she can see herself astride a black stallion of eye-catching beauty as she wins one competition after another. Unfortunately, her daydreaming also tends to get her in trouble at times when her mind should be focused in other places. And, when she catches sight of an ugly, dirty pinto in the schoolyard, no one believes that she's not still just dreaming about horses again.

Horse Dreams is an easy book as far as reading skill is concerned, hitting somewhere along a second or third grade reading level. But, the content captured the attention of both of my girls, third and fifth graders typically reading well above their grade level.

The thing that stood out the most to me in the book, however, was the spiritual dimension. A simple but growing relationship with God is seen in both fourth grade Ellie and her second grade brother. When I asked my fifth grader what she thought about the book, I was delighted to hear that the spiritual components stood out prominently to her as well.

If the "Backyard Horses" series was simply another set of fiction books about horses, I might not bother with the rest of the series simply because my girls truly are beyond the reading level. But, because the storyline so beautifully shows how a simple and growing faith in God affects the day to day life of a young girl, I would love to have the entire series on my shelf as it comes available. I look forward to handing the book to my son and loaning out or suggesting it to other parents who are looking for a good book for their children.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Cute Children's book June 6, 2013
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
I purchased (Kindle version is currently free on Amazon) and read this kids book as research for a writing project. Horse Dreams is a cute tale, and perfectly suited for young horse lovers.

Here are a few things I especially liked:

* The chapters are short. Young people fairly often have short attention spans, so the succinct chapters are a plus.

* The chapter titles capture attention! I love how each title is demonstrated in sign language (with a sign language alphabet chart in the back.) The heroine's brother is deaf, so this little touch gives the story authenticity and an extra level of charm.

* A "Horse Talk" glossary is helpful to those that aren't familiar with horse-related terms.

* The first person point of view is engaging. Ellie is a lovable, spunky, daydreamer who loves horses.

* The present tense storytelling flows seamlessly. (I'm usually distracted by stories told in present tense. (Horse Dreams is an exception.)

Horse Dreams is a charming book, with an age-appropriate theme. The main character is easy to relate to and shows maturation throughout the story, displaying valuable character-building lessons.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Great Read for Horse Lovers! May 27, 2012
Ellie James is a fourth grade student with a wild imagination. She loves to daydream during class about owning a horse. Whenever she is assigned a writing assignment, she wants to write about one thing - horses. One afternoon she glances outside and sees a beautiful horse galloping across the schoolyard. By the time she gets the teachers attention, along with her classmates, the horse had disappeared. The teacher has had enough of Ellie's fibs and sends a note home for her parents to read. Ellie soon realizes that the horse was real?

A few weeks ago, I was pleasantly surprised to find complimentary copy of Horse Dreams in the mailbox from Tyndale. I don't know much about horses, but I enjoyed reading about Ellie and her love for horses. Ellie may be a daydreamer during school, but her dreams do come true. The book was a delight light to read and I'm sure kids, especially horse lovers, will love reading it to.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Amazing
I loved this book and I like how you added the religion to it about praying to God and the verse from the Bible or where ever you got the verse
Published 11 days ago by peggy kinsey
3.0 out of 5 stars Horse Dreams
This book is about Ellie and her dream of owning a horse. A beautiful, black stallion, to be exact. She's begged and cried and prayed for one for years. Read more
Published 17 days ago by Bluerose's Heart
4.0 out of 5 stars Good book for young girls
This is an excellent and interesting story about a young girl getting her dream a horse. Excellent read for young girls. Read more
Published 21 days ago by mjkt
5.0 out of 5 stars Horse Dreams
This is a delightful book! This is the first in the series of Backyard Horses. Ellie James is a fourth grader with a big imagination. Read more
Published 21 days ago by muffin
5.0 out of 5 stars Horse Dreams
Horse Dreams is such a cutie story. This is the first book of a series. I can tell you that my daughter and I will have to continue the series. Read more
Published 22 days ago by Amy C
5.0 out of 5 stars Every girl who has ever wanted a horse will love these books!
Ellie James dreams *and* day dreams about her very own horse - a black stallion to show! She can't stop thinking of, praying, and begging for one, but she doesn't have one yet. Read more
Published 1 month ago by kristen4mk
5.0 out of 5 stars Good read for all!
I really enjoyedt his book. I haven't read any others by this author but if this book is part of a series, i WILL be getting and reading them. You should, also....... Read more
Published 1 month ago by N. Erskine
4.0 out of 5 stars Fun, quick read
4-th grader Ellie James dreams and prays of having her own horse. But not just any horse. She dreams of a black stallion with which she'll surely win the Hamilton Royal Horse Show. Read more
Published 1 month ago by Sofia Marie
5.0 out of 5 stars Great book
This book is great even it is free you will flip in excitement. Buy it for your horse crazy girl
Published 2 months ago by Marianne DeDeo
5.0 out of 5 stars horse-lover
An amazing book with amazing characters (even the animals) and a amazing ending! This is one book I'll keep reading over and over
Published 2 months ago by Firstlady76
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More About the Author

Dandi won her first writing contest as a 10-year-old tomboy. Her 50 words on "Why I Want to Be Batboy for the Kansas City A's" won first place, but the team wouldn't let a girl be batboy. It was her first taste of rejection.
Since then, Dandi Daley Mackall has become an award-winning author of over 400 books for children of all ages, with sales of 4 million copies in 22 countries. THE SILENCE OF MURDER is the winner of the Edgar Award for Best Young Adult Mystery 2012. Recent picture books with Sleeping Bear Press include Legend of Ohio, Rudy Rides the Rails: A Depression Era Story (Notable Book 2008 - Notable Social Studies Trade Book for Young People National Council of Social Studies & Children's Book Council; winner of the Angel Award, 2008; Winner of the "Award of Excellence" from Chicago Book Show 2007) and 2008 release, A Girl Named Dan (her own "batboy" story, and a lesson on Title IX), 2 Mom's Choice Awards & Amelia Bloom Award. Eva Underground, Harcourt young adult novel, nominated ALA Best Book 2007, starred Kirkus review, awarded a Top Teen Read by New York Public Library, finalist for Ohioana Award, was based on the author's experiences behind the Iron Curtain. Love Rules was awarded Romantic Times' Top Pick. Middle-grade fiction, Larger-than-Life Lara, Dutton/Penguin, which teaches how to write, while tackling the problem of bullying, is on the KY Bluegrass Award List 2007-8; William Allan White Award list, 2008-9; KS and KY Children's Choice lists. Her Winnie the Horse Gentler series has sold over half a million books and Starlight Animal Rescue is a Gold Medallion finalist. Dandi received the 2009 Helen Keating Ott Award for distinguished contribution toward promoting high moral and ethical values in children and young adult literature. She also received the Distinguished Alumna Award in 2008 from the University of Missouri. Dandi is a national speaker, keynoting at conferences and Young Author events, and has made dozens of appearances on TV, including ABC, NBC, and CBS. Visit Dandi at,, and

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