The Morgan Horse series by Ellen Field has its sixth new adventure in Rimfire:
The Barrel Racing Morgan Horse. Aimed at horse enthusiasts from ages 9 to 13, Rimfire is a satisfying and easy-to-read novel that subtly introduces the reader to the exciting world of barrel racing, from the techniques to the competitions to the fellowship of its participants.
The story follows Heather, a horse-riding and horse-showing youngster, to Oklahoma, where she discovers a new world in barrel racing. The adventure continues back home in Massachusetts, where Heather meets Rimfire, a horse unlike any she has ever known. Heather and her friend Nicholas learn this new discipline, and both ride Rimfire in competitions. The plot is rounded out with lessons in responsibility, friendship, and perseverance.
This book could be used as part of a unit study on horses. My ten-year old son is reading it as part of a requirement for his horse class at our homeschool co-op. Rimfire could also be used for language arts or for a book club. Of course, it could also be simply a book read for pleasure. My daughter and I have both enjoyed learning something new about horses.
Pros: One of the best things about this novel is following the relationships between Heather and the other young people. There is no inappropriate talk, thoughts, or behavior, and there are realistic consequences for poor choices.
Horse lovers of all ages will get something out of this novel and, I suspect, from the entire series. Independent readers will enjoy it, as would younger kids who enjoy having stories read to them. Plus, you do not have to read the first five books before diving into this one.
Cons: Rimfire has the potential to distract your kids from other schoolwork--or, more positively, from the television or computer! It is not a "deep" or "thinking" book, but it is definitely worth the time.
Rimfire would make a fine addition to any home in which kids are looking for their next good book, even if it's one they've already read. My kids have many books that they like to read over and over again, and Rimfire has become one of them!