Horse Crazy: The Silver Horse Switch by Alison Lester – A Book Review

Intended for young readers, Horse Crazy is the story of Bonnie and Sam, two young girls living in the bush of Australia.  Though they don’t have their own steeds, they do everything they can to ride their fellow townspeople’s horses.  One night, a wild horse jumps the fence and switches places with Sam’s father’s horse that would much prefer to live in the wilderness.  Sam’s father is the sheriff, and this replacement horse must adapt quickly to the police horse lifestyle, especially when a child’s life is at stake.

The Silver Horse Switch is slow to start—very slow.  In fact, I have great difficulty believing a child would want to stick with this story that spends the first twenty pages simply describing each horse in the community.  It isn’t until midway through the book that anything resembling an actual story commences.  Once the story is fully rolling, however, the book becomes quite engaging.

The artwork by Roland Harvey is relatively simple but not without charm.  By and large, Harvey illustrates the scenes accurately and I particularly enjoyed his backgrounds.

I also found the glossary of Australian terminology a clever touch and helpful to the story’s clarity.

So while The Silver Horse Switch is overall a pleasant experience, it takes far too long for the actual story to emerge.

Hidalgo – A Movie Review

This movie stars Viggo Mortensen and, well, er, a bunch of people we’ve never heard of.  Nonetheless, I really enjoyed this film.  It’s about a man and his horse, a Mustang named Hidalgo that he’s partnered with but never tamed.  They seem to have an understanding between each other where neither is master, but both are friends on equal footing (figuratively speaking).  I must admit, there are some really touching moments between man and horse that will test your mettle.

The storyline isn’t anything spectacular, as it was “inspired” by Mortensen’s character, real life figure Frank Hopkins.  Notice it said, “inspired,” not “based upon.”  That’s a big difference in Hollywood.  However, if you’re going to get a modern day actor to play a weather beaten, mellow cowboy, Mortensen is your best choice.  By the way, the locations were beautiful, and just watching that magnificent horse is well worth the price of a rental. 

As I said, this film isn’t breaking the mold by any means, but there are some potent scenes that remind us just how powerful a living organism’s will can be when faced with insurmountable odds.