California Riding Magazine • August, 2012

Book Reviews
Dressage 101;
Dressage Training Customized

Cowboy the Magic Horse
Written by Sheila Heuer
Reviewed by Jeffi Wood and fourth and fifth grade students from Ericson Elemetary Learning Center

Cowboy the Magic Horse was written by Sheila Heuer, whose experience was similar to the heroine of the story. The story speaks to the fact that you need something that makes you want to keep fighting when you have health difficulties. Her picture and brief history at the back of the book add to the story and the interest in the character. The illustrations done by Jacki Goedert are very well done watercolors that support the story wonderfully. I would love to see this book in all oncology waiting rooms as well as schools.

Jeffi Wood has worked in education for 30 years and has reviewed books for the San Diego Unified School District. She has had a life long love of horses and has competed in many disciplines.

Have you ever had surgery or have you ever been sick? If so, you might want to read this book called, Cowboy the Magic Horse, by Sheila Heuer. It is about a girl named Sophia who loved horses. Cowboy was the horse that Sophia loved the most. Sophia and Cowboy had a special relationship. Cowboy sensed that Sophia wasn't feeling well so he nuzzled against her. One day, Sophia went to the doctor and she found out she needed an operation. Sophia didn't want to have the operation but she did it so she could ride Cowboy as soon as possible.

We recommend that you read this book because it is about a caring friendship. There was a magical bond between a horse and a girl. When there are difficult times, having someone to care about will help you in life. This is why we recommend that you read this book.

The fourth and fifth grade students from Ericson Elementary Learning Center.


Tex: A Book for Little Dreamers
Written by Dorie McCullough Lawson
Reviewed by Jeffi Wood

The author has written some adult books, but this is her first book for children. She lives in Maine with her husband and children and owns horses. This children's book uses wonderful photographs to illustrate the ideas. All the adults who read this book commented on the stunning pictures. From there it becomes harder to praise.

The premise of the book is that a little boy named, Luke, imagines that he is "Tex." The pictures of the real part of this book are in black and white and the part of the book that is imagined is in color. The book had some difficult vocabulary and concepts for the age level it targets. I read this book to children ages five to eight. None of the suburban children were familiar with bunkhouse, wide open spaces, irrigate, rounding up the herd, or check the fence. While all these are perfectly valid vocabulary they are probably not going to be reinforced very much for most suburban children. The photographs help with learning the vocabulary, but it is a lot of new vocabulary for a simple book.

From the vocabulary to the idea that the real part of the book was the black and white part and the make believe part being was in color this book needed explanation to make it more than visually entertaining. If you want to get really picky about the book it also raises some safety issues by showing a very young child driving a tractor by himself and riding without a helmet. If I knew of a child in the "cowboy" craze phase of life I would recommend this book for that child.

Jeffi Wood has worked in education for 30 years and has reviewed books for the San Diego Unified School District. She has had a life long love of horses and has competed in many disciplines.