Joe and the Race to Rescue by Victoria Eveleigh

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Joe and the Race to Rescue by Victoria Eveleigh

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Category: Confident Readers
Rating: 5/5
Reviewer: Sue Magee
Reviewed by Sue Magee
Summary: The final book in this excellent trilogy is the best yet. and we have to shout HURRAH! when we see a horse book for boys. Highly recommended.
Buy? Yes Borrow? Yes
Pages: 128 Date: March 2014
Publisher: Orion Children's Books
External links: Author's website
ISBN: 978-1444007596

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Joe's come a long way from the Brummy boy who didn't want to know anything about horses and ponies whom we first met in Joe and the Hidden Horseshoe. His first pony, Lightning taught him a great deal, but Joe has grown and he's now been loaned Fortune, who's altogether different and Joe begins to realise that there's a lot more to being a great horseman than simply getting in the saddle and having the techniques. He needs to bond with Fortune and Fortune needs to learn to trust him. But Fortune isn't the only equine on Joe's mind. He's discovered a lonely-looking pony in a field and met Sherman and Velvet, two massive shire horses.

By the time that you've read a few pages of any book by Victoria Eveleigh you'll know two things: she's a natural writer and she knows her horses and ponies. Sometimes you read an author and you're conscious of how clever it is, how much has gone into getting those words onto the page. Forget all that with Eveleigh: think of the book as you would think of having a chat with an old friend who has a story to tell you - someone who knows you well and can explain novel ideas in such a way that you believe you've always known about them. She's a writer who teaches naturally and in such a way that it doesn't feel like education.

As for the animals, the secret is that she's writing about what she knows best. What you read about in the book comes from what Eveleigh describes as 'life' - she's kept Exmoor ponies and the big shires on the farm she lives on with her husband. She's knows that all animals have their own foibles and that what works for one doesn't work for another - and by the end of the book you'll understand too. Her stories are all based on experience or on current events. The references to flooding and the speed at which it can happen will ring a bell with many.

I've another reason for applauding Eveleigh. When I talk to parents, to teachers or librarians they all sigh about the paucity of good books for boys and particularly books which are based on situations which a boy might encounter. Adventure and spy stories are all very well - and sometimes we all need a bit of escapism - but it's good to see a story like Joe and the Race to Rescue, where boys are going to encounter role models. I'd like to thank the publisher for sending a copy to the Bookbag.

You could read this book on its own but you will get more out of it if you start with Joe and the Hidden Horseshoe. Girls looking for something similar can start with Katy's Wild Foal also by Victoria Eveleigh.

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