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Thunderhead Paperback – January 8, 2004

4.6 out of 5 stars 33 customer reviews
Book 2 of 3 in the Flicka Series

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

A follow-up to the childhood classic My Friend Flicka. "That rare achievement, a sequel to a great and richly deserved success that in no way falls short of its distinguished predecessor . . . a fine and singing story."--New York Times --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

About the Author

Mary O’Hara was born on July 10, 1885, in Cape May Point, New Jersey. She was a screenwriter during the silent film era and wrote several novels, including the range country trilogy My Friend Flicka, Thunderhead, and Green Grass of Wyoming. She also authored a novella, The Catch Colt, and Wyoming Summer, based on her diary of sixteen years. She died on October 14, 1980.

--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 224 pages
  • Publisher: Egmont Books Ltd; New edition edition (January 8, 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 140521001X
  • ISBN-13: 978-1405210010
  • Product Dimensions: 7.7 x 5 x 0.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8.5 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (33 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #4,247,286 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
The second in the Flicka trilogy, "Thunderhead" is a masterpiece of its genre. Like "My Friend Flicka," it isn't a children's book per se. It's a dark book, really, reflecting a lot of harsh reality, from Rob McLaughlin's ongoing and desperate struggle to keep his Goose Bar Ranch from financial ruin, to the constant and sometimes overwhelming battle to survive against the harsh Wyoming wildnerness, to a son's increasingly rebellious need to prove himself as a man.
Ken McLaughlin has matured greatly in this book. He is no longer the quiet dreamer afraid of his own shadow, and particularly of his father. But his thoughtful sensitivity is still evident, and when his beloved mare Flicka gives birth to her first foal, Ken must strain all his inner resources to fight for her and her baby.
The foal, Thunderhead, is a throwback to a wild strain that Rob has tried for years to breed out of his thoroughbred stock. Pure white and headstrong, Thunderhead is a direct descendant of a renegade stallion that sired a line of untameable horses. Rob takes one look at the colt, and wants him sold, gelded, or worse. But Ken loves Flicka's son, and battles to train him as a racehorse. As father and son face off in love and fury, each refuses to budge. And gentle Nell, long the backbone of the family, cannot help this time. She is facing the first real crisis in her marriage--one that threatens to tear the family apart as much as the standoff over Thunderhead.
I highly recommend this book for adults who love a good, old-fashioned adventure with lots of action and scenery, and lots of good, meaty characterizations. In my view, the book is not appropriate for young children. It can be graphic and scary, but an older child will love the adventure.
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Format: Paperback
I reread "Thunderhead" after a hiatus of forty years, and was surprised that I enjoyed it even more as an adult. I had to wonder how I made it through the parts about Rob and Nell's financial difficulties and rocky marriage when I was a teen-ager, but I know I read them because I can still remember details and characters after all these years.

The first book of the trilogy, "My Friend Flicka" was never a favorite of mine, and the third book, "Green Grass of Wyoming" concentrates more on teen-age romance than horses. But "Thunderhead" is a perfect balance between the story of a boy's difficult coming-of-age and the wilder saga of his horse.

The boy, Ken grows up on a horse ranch in Wyoming during the Great Depression. His mare, Flicka gives birth during a thunderstorm to an ugly white foal that Ken's mother, Nell names 'Goblin.'

Nell has the gift of giving animals their true names, but Ken begs her to come up with something grander for Flicka's colt:

"There was an ache in Nell's heart. She looked at the foal--that stubbornness, the mulish head, that stupidity, trying to nurse on every horse in sight, not knowing his own mother; and its anger--it ran across the corral head down, kicking out with one hind leg--it seemed full of hatred."

Finally, she looks to the sky for inspiration and names the white foal, 'Thunderhead.'

Ken struggles to raise Goblin/Thunderhead as a race horse, but the white colt forges a stranger destiny for himself in the mountains of Wyoming's Neversummer Range, where his grandsire, the savage Albino rules a stolen band of mares.

I was amazed to learn that Mary O'Hara's Wyoming trilogy was a work of fiction. It just seemed so real to me. Now I know that parts of it are strongly autobiographical.
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Format: Paperback
I loved this book and its predecessor, "My Friend Flicka", when I was little and I recently rediscovered and re-read them. Like "National Velvet", the story here goes beyond the wonderful horses and tells the story of a family in turmoil, and a woman (in this case, Nell, Ken's mother) trying to discover who she is and what she wants out of the life she's made with her family. This is a much grittier book than "Flicka", both for the horses and the people who struggle through it, but it is a great tale, beautifully told. I've often thought that some of these family horse books and the strong women in them have influenced a lot of the little girls who read them in ways they may never have noticed.
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Format: Paperback
I loved reading these books as a pre-teen, and again as an
adult when I discovered they were written on a ranch next to
the one I lived on in southeast Wyoming. The author uses
real locations and real situations (the crater doesn't
exist except in her imagination, but almost everything else
is true to life), which some might think is a bit intense for
young readers, but I find that children are more than capable
of understanding and enjoying these tales. I must correct the
reviewer who spoke of Anasazi in the books- they never made it
that far north, and I don't remember any references to them
that Mary O'Hara made either. Cheyenne, Arapaho, and Crow
Nations were all represented in this area. Mary O'Hara does a
wonderful job of using her real life experiences to make a
series of books that allow us to share her pioneer life.
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