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Wild Girl Paperback – January 11, 2011


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Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

Grade 4–6—Twelve-year-old Lidie must leave her beloved home in Brazil for a new life in New York. She reunites with Pai and her older brother, who left shortly after Mamãe died five years earlier. Lidie's father and Rafael train racehorses for a wealthy benefactor. When she meets the filly Pai has dubbed Wild Girl, Lidie remembers her mother calling her by that name. The horse's story parallels hers, as they are both plunked down into an unfamiliar, sometimes harsh environment. But when at last Lidie rides Wild Girl, it is as if their spunky, spirited souls gloriously merge. This brief tale of the sense of powerlessness that accompanies childhood is magnified by the perspective of an immigrant girl. It also addresses the pain of separation from loved ones, and animal cruelty. These issues are dealt with in an evenhanded, never too sorrowful or desperate way. Readers will find hope and resiliency in this coming-of-age story.—Tracy Weiskind, Chicago Public Library
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Review

Starred Review, Kirkus Reviews, July 15, 2009:
“Giff’s characters are beautifully nuanced and entirely real, her prose is as streamlined and efficient as a galloping Thoroughbred.”


From the Hardcover edition.
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Product Details

  • Age Range: 8 - 12 years
  • Grade Level: 3 - 7
  • Paperback: 160 pages
  • Publisher: Yearling (January 11, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0440421772
  • ISBN-13: 978-0440421771
  • Product Dimensions: 5.3 x 0.5 x 7.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (21 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #589,373 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Patricia Reilly Giff is the author of many beloved books for children, including the Newbery Honor books, Lily's Crossing and Pictures of Hollis Woods. She lives in Trumbull, Connecticut.

Customer Reviews

4.6 out of 5 stars
5 star
62%
4 star
33%
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My 9 year old son and I read this book together.
pritzlmb
This amazing and fascinating story would be a fantastic book for horse lovers and students that enjoy reading fiction.
American Immigration Council's Community Education Center
And the detail was really good best book ever totally reading again!!!!!!
Maddie

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

17 of 19 people found the following review helpful By KidsReads on October 5, 2009
Format: Hardcover
Twelve-year-old Lidie has spent the past several years imagining what life in America would be like. Her father and older brother, Rafael, have lived in America ever since her mother died when Lidie was seven. Although they left for New York after the incident, Lidie stayed behind in Brazil with her aunt and uncle, waiting for her father to send for her.

Now it's time for Lidie herself to head to America, and she has mixed feelings. She will miss the bright colors and bold tastes of life on her uncle's farm and in her aunt's kitchen. She will miss the challenges of school. Most of all, she will miss her favorite horse, Cavalo, whom she loves to ride like the wind.

Meanwhile, as Lidie is making the long journey from Brazil to New York, so is another girl --- this one a filly from South Carolina. She is mistrustful of most humans, is terrified of cats, and longs more than anything to return to her mother. But there are other plans for her as she too leaves her home and heads north to New York.

When Lidie arrives at her father's house, she is rather nervous. But her anxiety soon gives way to disappointment when she realizes that her father and brother think that she's still seven years old! They want to buy her snow boots with bunnies on them, and they've decorated her room with Disney characters. Worst of all, they don't even know that she is an excellent horse rider, possibly even better than her brother, who's training to be a jockey. They don't seem to know her at all. School is also a challenge --- the subjects are easy, but the English words she has studied don't help when she has an emergency, like really needing to use the bathroom.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Mara E. on May 29, 2010
Format: Hardcover
Wild Girl should be on the reading lists of every aspiring or established author of horsey fiction.

It's not that it's amazing. It's just a good story, centered on a likable girl with realistic problems that have nothing to do with a horse of her own plot. The horse in question is not the second coming of every wonder horse in fiction. She's just a young filly that doesn't quite know what's expected of her, and is as equally scared as she is curious. Like most horses in the world.

Lidie arrives in New York knowing little English, and hardly knowing the father and brother that arrive to meet her. There is enough understandable awkwardness to go around, and Lidie is left feeling about as cold as the New York winter she's suddenly walked into from her Brazilian sunshine. It doesn't help matters that her family remembers her as a seven-year-old girl, obsessed with Disney and the color pink. Lidie's done some growing up, and these things were cast aside years ago, but she hasn't grown up enough to come out and easily tell her father and brother who she is, what she likes, and what she's capable of.

To make matters worse, nothing is exactly easy for Lidie on her first day of school. Language barriers create some horrifying memories, and she bolts, convinced that she's never going to fit in. Poor Lidie's got a lot on her plate, so when they drive out to Harrisburg, Pennsylvania to pick up a couple of horses, she finds a bit of a kindred spirit in Wild Girl, a filly that's been on a similar journey.

In the end, filly and girl are both missing something. They eventually find what they're looking for. It's a sweet book, with none of the usual grating horse story components you'll usually find.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By pritzlmb on January 1, 2010
Format: Hardcover
My 9 year old son and I read this book together. He couldn't put it down and didn't want it to end. I struggle to get him to read with me, especially chapter books, but this one was perfect for him. It was a simple story line with some new words for him. "If your child loves horses they would love this," my son says. Great!
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By BermudaOnion VINE VOICE on February 13, 2010
Format: Hardcover
After Lidie's mother dies, her father and brother immigrate from their native Brazil to the US, leaving Lidie behind with her aunt and uncle. Lidie is happy enough with her aunt and uncle, riding her uncle's horse, but she longs to be reunited with her family.

After years of hard work and scrimping and saving, Lidie's father and brother, Rafael, send for her to join them in America. Excited, but nervous, Lidie embarks on a new part of her life. She has to face attending school in a language she's not fluent in and rebuilding a life with a family she hasn't seen in years. But Lidie is strong and faces her challenges head on.

Wild Girl by Patricia Reilly Giff gets its name from a horse Lidie's father owns. When he saw the horse was named Wild Girl - a nickname his wife had called Lidie - he knew he had to buy it. Wild Girl turns out to be just what the family needs to bring them back together emotionally after being apart physically for so long.

Horses and horse racing are the backdrop for a story of immigration and love of family in this book. When Lidie starts school in the US and struggles with the language, my heart went out to her, because I knew just how she felt. I loved the way her teacher reached out to her and her classmates accepted her. I hope children who read this middle grade book will learn some compassion from their actions.

I also enjoyed the family dynamics in Wild Girl. Lidie's father wasn't good at expressing his emotions. The reader always knows of his deep love for Lidie, but she doesn't and the scene when she figures it out brought tears to my eyes.

I was never a "horsey" girl, so I wasn't sure this book would be for me, but found that I really enjoyed it. I think young girls, especially those who love animals will enjoy it too.
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