Horse Crazy: The Silver Horse Switch. Book 1, by Alison Lester; illustrated by Roland Harvey, Chronicle Books, 2009. ISBN: 978-0-8118-6554-8 Originally published in Australia as The Shadow Brumby in 2007. -- Book retailer supplied review copy
The first thought that came to mind after I finished this book was "what a jolly little series!" Jolly as in 1 a (1) : full of high spirits : joyous (2) : given to conviviality : jovial b : expressing, suggesting, or inspiring gaiety : cheerful 2 : extremely pleasant or agreeable : splendid synonyms see merry
Two friends, Bonnie and Samantha, love horses. They know all the horses in Currawong Creek. It is their familiarity with the different personalities and manners of these horses that help them figure out that the horse Sam's father uses for his police work has traded places with another brumby mare that is the same color and size. The girls work with the new horse to train it for the job so Sam's father will not detect the switch.
Roland Harvey's watercolor and ink illustrations take this story to the next level. Countless tiny, humorous details of life in Currawong Creek are depicted and invite the reader to study the pages closely, shades of "Where's Waldo." The characters and horses are expressive and full of life. The illustrations will beautiflly support emerging readers who are just beginning to read with fluency and discovering the pleasures of "chapter books."
Alison Lester has provided a little glossary of Australian terms so 'yanks' will understand expressions like "double-dinking" and "brumby" -- although the context of the story and the pictures make clear what the expressions mean.
A very 'jolly' little series to be sure!