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I Rode A Horse Of Milk White Jade Hardcover – March 1, 1998


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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

No ordinary horse story, Wilson races out of the gates with her debut account of Oyuna, an equestrian girl living in 14th-century Mongolia; the author links the epic and the ordinary, and transforms a curse into a blessing. Oyuna enters "into the realm of the horse" when a horse's hoof crushes her foot as a toddler, disabling her and bringing bad luck to her ail (her family and clan of herdsman). To redeem their luck, the girl resolves to win the annual race at the festival in Karakorum. But the aspiring contestant's preparation does not entail daily workouts and hours of repetition. What Wilson has in mind for Oyuna is a journey, in which the girl sets out from home disguised as a boy among the Khan's army, then treksAwith only her gifted horse and cat as companionsAover many miles of winding mountain pathways and vast, barren flatlands. She meets up with strange women with magical potions and powers, and with the great Kublai Khan before finally coming full circle to Karakorum for the race itself. The author threads, throughout Oyuna's passage, pearls of Mongolian history (e.g., in her approach to the Khan, Oyana crosses the Great Wall) and cultureAeven vocabulary. Although Wilson's framework of a story-within-a-story results in the preaching of an anticlimactic moral, the ending steals no thunder from Oyuna's penultimate race, the culmination of her dream. Horse lovers or not, readers will be riveted. Ages 11-up.
Copyright 1998 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From School Library Journal

Grade 6-10AIn 14th-century China, an elderly woman tells her granddaughter about her early life on the Mongol steppes, beginning with the day a horse crushed her tiny foot, crippling the young Oyuna. According to her nomadic clan's religious beliefs, this incident brought bad luck to her and her family. Thereafter, she views any misfortune visited upon her family as her fault, even her mother's accidental death. Her one joy is her new white horse. When the mare is commandeered by Kublai Khan's forces, Oyuna dresses as a boy in order to remain with her beloved companion. When the soldiers discover her secret, they are anxious to get rid of her and quickly send her off alone to complete a mission for an injured arrow rider for the Khan. After an arduous trek, she reaches the Khan's palace where she is instrumental in halting a plague that is killing off the ruler's herd of white horses and meets the man whom she will marry. In the words of her own shamaness grandmother, she has learned to make her own luck. This unique coming-of-age story is steeped in the rituals and superstitions of the period and punctuated with graphic images of the harsh terrain and living conditions on the barren steppes, the treacherous mountains, and the gobi. The character of Oyuna, though a sympathetic one, seems drawn with a kind of detachment that makes it difficult to identify closely with her. Nevertheless, her story is an exciting one that will reward diligent, proficient readers.APeggy Morgan, The Library Network, Southgate, MI
Copyright 1998 Reed Business Information, Inc.
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Product Details

  • Age Range: 10 and up
  • Hardcover: 240 pages
  • Publisher: Scholastic (March 1, 1998)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0531300242
  • ISBN-13: 978-0531300244
  • Product Dimensions: 9.3 x 6.3 x 0.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (58 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,144,771 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

This is an enchanting book of a strong female heroine who loves horses.
Flame_926
If you seek a good connection between history and literature this is a great find.
Marilee Abramshe
I loved this book and I encourage all readers, young and old, to read this book!
Kristen

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

12 of 12 people found the following review helpful By Margaret Fiore on February 7, 2000
Format: Hardcover
This is a story within a story; Oyuna tells her life story to her granddaughter as they wait for the birth of a new foal. Oyuna was crippled shortly after her birth, when a horse stepped on her foot as she lay in the grass. Unable to walk well, she learned that horses gave her freedom of movement, and she learned to regard her disability as an indication that she was fated to be a great horsewoman.
She grew up knowing the pain and shame of her difference from others. Not only was she a girl in a time and place where girls had little value, but she was a cripple, too. But having greater limitations than others drove her to even greater determination to attain her dreams. And this is the lesson that she passes on to her granddaughter.
Oyuna followed her heart, buying an old mare despite her age and a lame leg because of the bond between them. And her strong bond with her horse, and her cat as well, became the greatest forces that shaped her life.
The superstitions of her simple society permeate Oyuna's narrative, and it may require a bright and skillful reader to separate the real from the superstition in the tale. But for that reader, this is an enchanting and gripping story.
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Jane M. Seegar on December 3, 1999
Format: Paperback
I got it for my 13-year-old, and read it before she did, bad move, but couldn't put it down. Humane, moving, never sappy, great girl character, mystery, romance, adventure, coming-of-age, but above all superlatively well-written. Splendid economy of writing. We used the similes for an English project, beautifully done. Even beats Harry Potter. We want more by this author!
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Monika on December 12, 2004
Format: Hardcover
Oyuna, a young girl living on the steppes of late 13th-century Mongolia, was "claimed" by the horse as a baby, when a mare stepped on her foot, crushing it and leaving her permanently crippled. Her family and clan members believe her crippled foot is bad luck, and Oyuna comes to believe it, too. But despite her family's efforts to keep her confined to the ger, or tent, Oyuna is determined to spend as much time as possible with her family's horses. Riding provides her with a freedom she cannot experience on the ground. On horseback, her lame foot does not matter. She dreams of having a swift horse of her own, and winning the famed long race at the festival in Karakorum. At last her father gives in, offering to buy her a horse of her choice. But instead of the swift horse of her dreams, Oyuna surprises both herself and her family by choosing an old, lame white mare.

Over the winter, Oyuna spends all her spare time with the mare, whom she names Bayan, meaning "rich with beauty and goodness." Gradually Bayan's leg heals until she is once again sound enough to ride. Oyuna's shamaness grandmother recognizes something special in the white mare, and warns Oyuna that she must never lose her. But when men from the army of Kublai Khan arrive to take horses and young boys into their service, Oyuna is heartbroken when they select Bayan as one of the horses they will take. In order to stay with her beloved mare, she disguises herself as a boy and sets off with the army, thus beginning a journey full of both danger and adventure. Can she manage to overcome the bad luck that seems to follow her crippled leg, and make her own luck instead?

This book is an excellent choice for any lover of horses and historical fiction.
Read more ›
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful A Kid's Review on November 29, 2000
Format: Paperback
This was an extremely well-written book. It is discriptive and enlightening. It is about a Mongolian girl who, when she was young, was supposedly crowned with bad luck when a horse crushed her foot. But she is determined to prove to her clan, and herself, what she can do. With a horse she bought, even though it was lame, she sets off to fulfil her dream. Her adventure turns out to be more than she'd planned. I highly recommend this book.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on November 7, 1999
Format: Hardcover
This was a great book. The story shows how a girl thought to have been cursed with bad luck for the rest of her life shows how she can live a normal life and show that she can break the bad luck she had been cursed with. It also shows how she really loves her horse who was lame like her but still helped travel all the way to the city of Kublai Khan.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful A Kid's Review on January 31, 2001
Format: Paperback
I liked the book. It was very faced-paced and never got boring. It was emotional too. I would recommend this book to people who like to read about ancient China and horses. The book is about a girl named Oyuna who is crippled and her dream to find a swift horse. She has encounters with different people and animals.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful A Kid's Review on June 1, 2002
Format: Paperback
An enticing page-turner with thought-provoking twists, cultural reflections, courageous characters that the reader can really feel for, and even a few meaningful life lessons. With the turn of the very first page, Wilson paints a beautifully vivid picture of an ancient world. She does a superb job of writing a beginning that immediately captures the imagination. Right off the bat, Wilson pulls the reader into the fascinating yet dangerous world of the past. I Rode a Horse of Milk White Jade is an excellent recollection of a young girl's wish to succeed, and how nothing, not even bad luck, can stop her. Wilson does a flawless job of conjuring up characters with strong personalities and dreams. With a twist here and a turn there, Wilson keeps the reader interested throughout the course of the entire book. This story of courage, friendship and bravery is complete with the addition of a life lesson that leaves a mark on the reader's heart: never give up on your dreams.
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