Children's Literature @ NYPL
Booktalking "Gee Whiz" by Jane Smiley
Gee Whiz is a grey off-the-track Thoroughbred. He enjoys racing with Blue, and Abby Lovitt is intrigued by him. Also new to the barn is Beebop, a dark-colored rodeo horse, whose attitude seems to mirror that of his owner, who, incidentally, will get on any horse other than his own. There is also Oh My, a flashy paint mare with a question mark on her side, and all of the "Georges" and the "Jewels," which her father insisted on naming all of the mares and geldings of the past, in order to prevent people from getting attached to them. Oak Valley Ranch is a training barn, and when finances get tight, one of the horses needs to be sold.
Abby has a terrific time at a slumber party over the winter holidays when Barbie and Alexis Goldman return from boarding school. Dinner consists of elaborate cheese and chocolate fondues, to be dipped in by angel food cake and beef cubes. Abby loves cooking gingerbread men for the holidays and all of the other scrumptious treats that abound for the season.
Abby is captivated by talking with French Marie and Norwegian Ingrid, who are friends of the Goldman twins from boarding school. She also benefits from the traveling stories of Brother Abner. She worries about Danny being drafted for the war in Vietnam, though she understands his excitement about traveling overseas.
Giving lessons to Barbie on Blue and riding with her on Lincoln are Abby's true passions. She allows the horses to free jump and rewards them with carrots. She wants the equines to have the opportunity to explore their surroundings and the obstacles. When all of the horses get loose due to an open gate, Abby patiently catches one of them by baiting him with sliced apples sprinkled with sugar. The more fun and games with and for the horses, the better.
This book included lots of great information about horse keeping, and it helped me get inside the heads of riding instructors.