author: Greg Neri
illustration: Jesse Joshua Watson
date: Candlewick, August 2011
main character: Coletrane “Cole”
Middle Grade Fiction
Cole’s mother has reached her last straw. She’s been raising him alone and with Cole cutting classes and facing the option of failing or going to summer school, she decides that it’s time for Cole to spend some time with his dad. This would be the father the 12 year old has never met. Upon his arrival in Brooklyn, Cole soon realizes that his father lives with a horse. In fact, he raises horses and lives by the cowboy code and yes, this is a contemporary story.
Through the horse community, young Cole begins to find a purpose and a reason to stay in school. We see him grow and mature as the routine of caring for the horses begins to take on a real meaning to him. His relationship with his father is naturally strained and develops in a believable manner. It may be hard to get young boys to want to read a book about horses, but if they’ve read any of Neri’s previous books, they’ll eagerly read this one.
review copy received from the publisher