Follow Here To Purchase The Island Horse

Author: Susan Hughes

Illustrator:  Alicia Quist,

Publisher: Kids Can Press Ltd., Toronto, 2012

ISBN: 978-1-55453-592-7

With the publication of Black Beauty in 1877, the British author Anna Sewell began what is now known as the ‘pony book’ genre of children’s literature. With fifty million copies sold, Black Beauty is one of the best selling books of all time.[2] While forthrightly teaching animal welfare, it also teaches how to treat people with kindness, sympathy, and respect. But Sewell did not write the novel for children. She said that her purpose in writing the novel was "to induce kindness, sympathy, and an understanding treatment of horses." The Island Horse by Susan Hughes is an excellent addition to this literary genre.

Susan Hughes, who lives in Toronto, Canada, is an award-winning author, whose books for children include Case Closed?, No Girls Allowed, Earth to Audrey and Virginia. She has loved horses since she was a child and has long dreamed of setting a story on Sable Island

Sable Island, the setting for The Island Horse, is a small Atlantic island situated 300 km southeast of the Canadian port of Halifax, Nova Scotia. It is a year-round home to less than a dozen people, principally scientists. Notable for its Sable Island ponies, the island has recently been recognized as a National Park of Canada. Prior to 1801, the island was inhabited sporadically by sealers, shipwreck survivors, and salvagers known as wreckers. A life-saving station was established on Sable Island by the government of Nova Scotia in 1801 and its crew became the first permanent inhabitants of the island. The island is home to over 400 free-roaming Sable Island ponies who are said to be descended from horses confiscated from the Acadians during the Great Expulsion. In the past, excess horses were often rounded up and shipped off the island and sold to be used in the coal mines of Cape Breton Island. In 1960 the Canadian government gave the horse population full protection from human interference.

The Island Horse is the story of a ten year old girl named Ellie, whose mother has recently died, and who, early in the 19th century accompanies her father to his new job as a member of a life-saving crew on Sable Island. Ellie is not happy because she has to leave the Nova Scotia village and the school that she knows and loves and she has to leave her best friend, Lizzie; most importantly she has to leave the place where her beloved mother is buried. Arriving on Sable Island, Ellie continues to grieve for what she has lost, rather than rejoice in what she has gained - a new little island home, the closeness of the sea, even the chance of a new friend. All this make little difference to her at first, but Ellie has always loved horses and when she makes a chance encounter with an Island stallion, her life is changed for ever.

The Island Horse is a beautifully published chapter book which will have great appeal especially to 7-10 year old girls. The carefully worded story is enhanced by the superb drawings of Alicia Quist, a self-taught artist from Peterborough, Ontario now living in High River, Alberta. Drawing and painting for as long as she can remember, Alicia’s favorite subject has always been animals; but her real love is horses as is evident here. Beginning readers will find this book a happy challenge; however, it also is most suitable for those who enjoy reading stories aloud.

Follow Here To Purchase The Island Horse