This historical novel follows Casey, a 12-year-old transplant from Montana, as he adjusts to his new homestead in 1890s Australia. The transition is rough: Australia’s wild, scrubby brush is nothing like Montana’s open spaces; his family can’t afford another horse, so he rides a mule to school; and the boys there bully him mercilessly. One evening he finds a herd of wild horses and immediately feels a connection to a fierce, free-spirited horse he names Moonrunner. Casey’s visits with Moonrunner form a loose thread connecting the events of his life: enduring lean times, winning over the bullies, trapping with his father, working to buy his own horse, and so on. This slice-of-life story is short on plot and action, though Moonrunner’s capture by a rancher provides some tension at the end. Though the setting is well realized, the narrative and the characters are often bland. Still, Casey’s homesickness and trouble fitting in will resonate with young readers, as will his love for animals. This may appeal to boys looking for a tame western. Grades 4-8. --Krista Hutley
About the Author
Mark Thomason grew up in the High Sierras of California when television was only a slight whisper. As a young boy he listened to old-time radio programs such as Inner Sanctum and The Shadow, which enlivened his imagination. He also grew up with horses, listening to his father s stories of chasing mustangs in Montana. Stories and adventure have since dominated his life, and he has lived and worked in many places around the world. Mark currently lives in North Sydney, Australia.