This week I was feeling behind on books I wanted to read from Net Galleys. A little remember came in from the publisher that their book was being released and they would love if I would post a review. So I thought I would start with their book. A mystery book and horses – a perfect quick read.
Mystery Rider by Miralee Ferrell is part of a series of horse books. It is clearly a 2nd or 3rd grade read. This is a book building friendships, seeking a different point of view and helping others.
A group of friends are working to paint a fence at the new horse stable and they are trying to include a new friend. There are lots of assumptions made that cause problems and confusions. The group also decided to ride in the summer parade to advertise the new stables. They need to raise money and work as a team. During their struggles they watch a mystery rider cross the roads at sunset each night. This leads on an adventure of trust and secrets.
We watch as this small group of children sort out the ins and outs of relationships and what they learn from each other. The author includes diversity of race, a child who appears rich but is struggling and whose mother has alcohol issues, and bullying. It sounds perfect. It is well written for this young age but I did not research my book well.
I was glad I read this alone and not in front of a class of students. About mid way through it is clear there is a Christian message. It becomes an issue with the group as they discuss that one child does not go to church. There are many times in the text that answers are found because a Christian God was on their side.
Here is my struggle – I think that religion is fine but it needs to be stated clearly in the book blurb. This is not a book I could put in my public school classroom. My classroom was full of students from around the world with many different religious backgrounds. All of my students needed and need to feel included – this book leaves students out. It professes to have a definite right and wrong to religion.
The message of students working together and of helping an elderly woman in their community was great. The mystery was interesting for a 2nd or 3rd grade level and it was realistic. Changing a bit of language would make this book more universal and one to be shared with a wider audience.
Lesson learned on my have –
- check out the publisher
- see what else the author has written
There were signs at the end of the book – the author contributes to a christian devotional magazine but nothing in the book blurb lead me to know this was a book for a specific audience. The publisher is a christian organization. I just didn’t look.
Cute story buy not for my diverse classroom.
I’m always leery of the small publishers on Netgalley. Even if the stories are good, it’s often difficult to get hardcover copies. Horse books do well in my school, but will pass on this one. Thanks!
You are very wise, Joanne, and I’m glad you continued to read all the way through to be sure of your thoughts. It wouldn’t fit at my school either, really any public school. Glad you shared!
Thanks Linda – It surprised me since I haven’t run into books lately that push religion as clearly as this one.
Great to read about your reservations concerning this book, Joanne. 🙂