HOME SCHOOL BOOK REVIEW
Book: A Horse to Love
Author: Nancy Springer
Publisher: HarperCollins, 1987
ISBN-13: 9780060258252 (library binding)
ISBN: 006025825X (library binding)
ISBN-13: 9780060258245 (hardcover)
ISBN-10: 0060258241 (hardcover)
Language level: 2 (a lot of euphemisms and childish slang)
Reading level: Ages 12-15
Rating: 3 stars (FAIR)
Reviewed by Wayne S. Walker
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Springer, Nancy. A Horse to Love (published in 1987 by Harper and Row Publishers, New York City, NY). Springer has written several adult fantasy novels, such as The Black Beast, The White Heart, Chains of Gold, and Wings of Flame, about none of which I know anything. A Horse to Love, her first book for young readers, is about how a shy middle school or junior high girl named Erin comes out of her shell by learning to care for a horse named Spendthrift, and how Aunt Lexie, her crusty neighbor who owns a horse farm, softens up in helping Erin. Erin’s attitude at first is not the best, but she does learn better. There are many nice aspects to this story, but it is a very worldly book.
Aunt Lexie smokes a pipe. Erin’s mother works and is often not at home, so Erin is a latch-key kid. The people are said to do several things specifically on Sundays but none of those things is going to church services. While I appreciate the fact that there are no profanity or outright vulgarity in the book, there are a lot of questionable euphemistic slang expressions, such as pig poop, puppy piddle, crap, heck, darn, drat, butt, etc. And, of course, it must be “relevant,” so the parents of Erin’s friend are divorced. Her friend’s dad doesn’t always send money, and the mother is afraid that the dad will kidnap her. Having said that, the book is not all that bad; I have read a lot worse. It would probably appeal most to girls.