Chancey by Gigi Amateau

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Chancey by Gigi Amateau

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Category: Confident Readers
Rating: 4/5
Reviewer: Sue Magee
Reviewed by Sue Magee
Summary: A delightful story in the tradition of Black Beauty but which leaves the reader on a positive note. Definitely recommended particularly for the pre-teen with an interest in horses.
Buy? Yes Borrow? Yes
Pages: 256 Date: July 2009
Publisher: Walker Books
ISBN: 978-1406322583

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Chancey's dam was Starry Night and her owner loved that horse so much that she wanted a foal who was exactly like her, but when Chancey was born she was bitterly disappointed for instead of the black Appaloosa with white marking Chancey was born albino. It was only his striped hooves which proved his breeding. The owner was not big enough to overcome her feelings and when she fell on hard times it was Chancey who was left out in the field to suffer despite the fact that he was no longer a young horse.

Chancey's dam told him that a fire star gallops across the sky on the night a great horse is born and this had happened on the night of Chancey's birth. It seemed though that the portents had been wrong as Chancey was anything but great and he was in a poor state when he was finally given away to another stable. Sometimes predictions take a while to come true and Chancey proves to be a horse of strength and wisdom who changes the lives of two children for ever.

Can I confess that as a child I didn't particularly like Black Beauty? It started so well and then it all went dreadfully wrong and I always closed the book in floods of tears. Chancey might almost be described as a reverse Black Beauty – although circumstances are not always perfect for him in his later life he is never neglected or unloved. The painful, tear-jerking bits come at the beginning and once Chancey finds a new home life moves forward on a positive note.

The story is told by Chancey himself and there is never a moment of self-pity – even when circumstances really do seem to be against him. He's a reliable narrator – if occasionally just a little too unemotional for my taste – but there's an awful lot of information about the type of care which a horse needs and what can happen if they're neglected which doesn't feel at all like exposition. For a preteen boy or girl with an interest in horses the book will prove to be an absolute gem. Even if there isn't a deep interest in things equine it's still a very good story well told.

I'd like to thank the publishers for sending a copy to the Bookbag.

If Chancey appeals to you then you will love Dog by Daniel Pennac.

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