Fourth-grader Ellie can't stop daydreaming about her beautiful horse-the one she's been praying about for many years. She finds out that God does answer prayers, but often in different ways than we expect. Instead of the black stallion that races across her imagination, she gets to keep a spotted pinto horse in her backyard and tries to train her to peep through her bedroom window. God does more than Ellie could have imagined or dreamed . . .
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33 out of 33100%customers would recommend this product to a friend.
Customer Reviews for #1: Horse Dreams: Backyard Horses
Review 1 for #1: Horse Dreams: Backyard Horses
Great book for girls
Date:July 20, 2014
Ellie James is a fourth-grader who loves horses and dreams about owning a horse of her own. She daydreams and prays about someday owning a black stallion. Ellie daydreams so much about horses (including in class) that when she tells her teacher that she sees a horse outside the school, no one believes her and they think she’s just daydreaming again. But is she?
“Horse Dreams” is a cute horse related story for pre-teen age girls. In the book, Ellie learns that prayers aren’t always answered in the way we want them to be or the way we expect them to be answered. Another theme of the book is that we shouldn’t judge people (or in this case, a horse) by how they look.
Ellie’s brother Ethan is deaf and communicates with Ellie, her parents, and her friend using sign language. The title of each chapter is spelled out in sign language along with the English title and the whole sign language alphabet is listed in the back of the book along with a glossary of horse related words and terms. I thought both made a nice addition to the book.
I like the way Ellie’s faith is portrayed throughout the book and how genuine it feels whenever Ellie is praying or thinking about God and her relationship with him. Bible verses are also quoted at the beginning and the end of the book (1 Samuel 16:7 and Ephesians 3:20).
One thing to mention for parents is that in one part of the book Ellie leaves a horse show without telling anyone where she is going and walks alone to and from an animal farm a good distance away at night, which isn't a safe thing to do. Her parents never question her about this decision later in the book.
This book was an enjoyable read and I think it is a great book for Christian girls, especially girls who like horses.
This is a delightful book! This is the first in the series of Backyard Horses. Ellie James is a fourth grader with a big imagination. She wants to own a black stallion so bad and dreams about this all the time. Ellie has a little adventure about her imaginary horse. I would recommend this book especially to young girls. Dandi Daley Mackall is a very good children's writer.
Horse Dreams is such a cutie story. This is the first book of a series. I can tell you that my daughter and I will have to continue the series. In this book, you are introduced to Ellie, a young girl who is wishing for a black stallion show horse. Then she comes across a poor horse in need of rescuing. I thought this was a beautiful little story about the true meaning of love. 5 stars.
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Review 4 for #1: Horse Dreams: Backyard Horses
One of My Favorite Authors!
Date:February 3, 2014
I read this book with my younger sister in mind, overall i enjoyed this book and i really like this author. I didn't find anything wrong or bad in the story line, one girl is a bit snotty but nothing terrible. There is no violence or language at all, completely clean. This book is aimed a bit more to younger audiences but is still enjoyable to older.
The book is an easy read, perfect for elementary school age children - especially if they love horses.
I loved the fact that the main character's little brother was deaf and that signing was a natural part of the story. I think that too often literature forgets about the deaf, blind, and other handicapped individuals who still live ... and this is even more true in a children's book. I think it's important to instill that these individuals are normal people too at a young age, and this book does that beautifully and naturally.
I also liked that while the heroine isn't perfect, this isn't one of those books where she disobeys and everything still turns out right in the end. Also, this book teaches that sometimes God does answer our prayers, but in a different-than-expected way - another important lesson for children.
I don't care for most children's lit (even "Christian" books), but I enjoyed this one and recommend it.
I read Horse Dreams aloud to my 7, 5, and 3 year old girls who like horses. I liked how the book talked about prayer and how God sometimes answers our prayers in ways we don’t expect. The story was a bit slow and the writing was just so-so. The characters really weren’t too interesting…pretty flat actually. This is not a great work of fiction, but it was a sweet story.
"Backyard Horses" by Dandi Daley Mackall is the first book in her "Horse Dreams" series for middle-elementary-aged children (probably most appealing to girls). Ellie James, the main character, is ten-years-old and in the fourth grade. Her younger brother, Ethan, is deaf, so she and her best friend, Colt, have both learned sign language in order to communicate more easily with him. This also allows them to send secret messages to each other in public places, such as in their classroom at school.
Ellie loves to daydream. She also loves horses. Her favorite daydream is about owning a horse, a Hamilton Royal Champion Horse. Some of the other girls at school have their very own perfect show horses, but Ellie is still waiting and praying for hers. Begging her parents and crying to them haven’t brought this horse into being, so now she’s trying prayer. "Backyard Horses" tells us what comes of that.
I enjoyed reading this clever story and wouldn’t hesitate to recommend it to parents looking for good books for their children to read. Positives: Though there’s a mean girl in the story, Ellie and Colt both handle her with patience and grace. When adults in the story make mistakes, Ellie is respectful and polite, yet stands up for what is right in creative ways. Ellie’s relationship with her family, best friend, and school teacher are all quite sweet. Best of all, Ellie learns some significant lessons about God’s nature and prayer. The message of 1 Samuel 16:7 is the subtle theme of the book.
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Review 8 for #1: Horse Dreams: Backyard Horses
Great horse story for young readers
Date:June 27, 2013
This book reminded me of the many, many horse books I read myself when I was a child. Like me, Ellie dreams of having her own horse. She is so "horse crazy" that she even decides to make horses the basis of her science project. She will determine the best way to get a horse - begging, crying or praying.
Ellie also has a bit of a problem with daydreaming - especially about her dream horse, a black stallion that she will ride in horse shows. Then one day Ellie sees a real horse outside her classroom window. But the horse disappears before anyone else can catch sight of her and now the teacher thinks Ellie has gone beyond daydreams to delusions.
The book is rounded out with a nice cast of characters that make up Ellie's friends and family. She has a brother who is deaf, a pleasantly eccentric mother and a father who writes advertising jingles and has a bit of a phobia about meetings with the principal. Her best friend is a boy who isn't sure he wants the world to know that they're friends anymore. Her rival owns a magnificent show horse but doesn't appreciate her blessings.
The book includes a glossary of horse terms and a sign language alphabet.
Ellie is in love with horses and her entire world revolves around them to the point that those around her accuse her of dreaming up real horses. When her Mom shares about her day the family learns that Ellie really wasn't dreaming and that her prayers are being answered, just not in the exact way she wanted. This book is perfect for an elementary aged girl who loves horses too.
Cute story that I can relate to, since I was a daydreamer too and I love horses.
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Review 11 for #1: Horse Dreams: Backyard Horses
Date:June 11, 2013
I read this book wondering if my 8 year old would enjoy reading it. I think it is very appropriate for 2nd grade and up, ESPECIALLY if the child is a horse lover! The book is well written and easy to read.
The only reason for giving a four star instead of five is the mom character. She did not seem to fit at all with the rest of the characters in the story. Everyone else was the basic, normal person; however, the mom spoke mainly in cliches (which really became distracting and annoying). There was no explanation for WHY she may speak that way, and if there were it may have helped make it less distracting. It was almost as if her character were an afterthought. Develop the mom character just a bit more, but I still would say this is a good read with a good message for kids.
I'm well over 10 years old, but I enjoy reading this type of book for a quick, easy diversion from serious novels. This book is appropriate for any kid. It is a fun story, very well written. I really like her little brother, Ethan. I like the sign language chart. I also like the list of horse related words, for people like me who are curious about horse terminology. I agree with another reviewer that the girl’s parents could pray, too, and Christian values could be shown better, but I still recommend this book and this author.
Horse Dreams, by Dandi Mackall, though geared for pre-teen girls was delightful to read. The story was well-written and centered on a highly imaginative 4th grade girl named Ellie. Like many other girls, Ellie is horse crazy and longs for her own horse. However, she doesn't just want any type of horse, but a black stallion show horse. As you read the story, you see how her dream becomes reality, however, her "dream horse" is not what she had imagined, but you will have to read the story to find out. Though this book is enjoyable to read, what I liked most about it are the Spiritual truths that are found throughout the story. This story is not just about a little girl who longs for a horse and finally gets one. Ellie and her family are a close family who loves God and each other. During the story, Ellie prays to God for her dream horse and never keeps giving up that He will give her one even though it seems God keeps saying not yet. Despite the years and years of asking for one and not getting her horse, she does not lose faith that God will bring her horse to her. It is refreshing to read about this girl's faith and a good reminder that God is in control and He answers prayers in His time with our best interests in mind. Though this book is geared for children, I found it to be entertaining and refreshing considering the great Biblical truths found in it from start to finish.
Ellie has always wanted a champion horse of her own. When she meets a pinto in need of love and care, she starts to like this horse and her dream of a champion horse fades.
This was a cute story about a horse-crazy girl. A sentence in chapter one summed it up best. "Everything I do has something to do with horses." It was nice to see that Ellie realized she could talk to God about everything, even her "horse dreams".
Backyard Horses is a sweet chapter book that elementary-age girls are sure to enjoy! I remember so desperately wanting a horse when I was that age—and we lived in the suburbs, so it definitely wasn’t an option! I loved that Ellie begged and cried and finally realized that she needed to ask God to provide what she wanted. And then when she got it, she didn’t even recognize it … because the gift wasn’t as she expected it to be. Such a lesson for us—even as adults—and one I’m learning over and over. Dandi Daley Mackall is a talented writer, and I wholeheartedly recommend Backyard Horses.
I'm always looking for chapter books for my children but I'm tired of fairies, witches, and books with disrespectful children. I really loved this book and can't wait for my kids to read it! Fourth-grader Ellie loves horses and has prayed for 6 or 7 years to own a black stallion. Since she's only in 4th grade, that's almost her whole lifetime! I really liked how Ellie prayed to God about everything, like she was having a conversation with Him, checking in with Him. It showed that God is relevant, even to young children. Ellie learns a hard lesson---that God does not always give you what you want, but He'll always give you what you need---something even we adults need to learn. I didn't expect the book to be so funny; Ellie's parents were hilarious, some of the expressions her mother said made me laugh. I can't wait to share this with my kids. The only thing I'd point out to my kids is to not walk anywhere alone like Ellie did in the book; she left the horseshow, went to see her pinto, and then walked home all by herself. By that time, it was dark, too. Maybe that's okay in a town like hers but I'd just want my kids to know they should not do that. Other than that, I'd recommend this book to kids and adults.
I think most kids would really enjoy this, but especially kids who are in public school and who like animals. The characters and setting are believable yet somewhat quirky (especially the mother). The chapters go by quickly, with driving elements. The children in the story get along well, except for the one or two snooty girls. Some of it I question, but overall pretty good.
Ellie James wants a horse. It's all she dreams about. When a horse suddenly appears, will Ellie realize that this is her horse ?
Backyard Horses is a wonderful little series for horse lovin' girls ages 6-9. It is written in first person present tense, which was a bit hard to decipher at first.
Sometimes I thought that Ellie was a rather over confident girl by the way that she talked, but I think that's partially due to the tense and first person point of view. I liked the side characters and her brother Ethan who was deaf, I thought it was a nice touch to have Ellie, her friend and her family all using sign language as part of their natural communication.
Overall I would say that is a cute series that I wish I had around when I was much younger. I could relate to Ellie and how she didn't have a horse and all her other friend had tons of horses. A rather sweet book.
I received this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. Thanks!
Horse Dreams is the first book in the Backyard Horses series By Dandi Daley Mackall. This book is a great and easy read. This book is definitely written for younger readers but readers of all ages will enjoy the story and love its Christian values.
"Horse Dreams" is a short, easy to read story about a young girl with a huge love for all things horses and a bigger than life dream of getting one of her own. Dandi Daley Mackall writes a sweet tale of prayer, the importance of it, and how God answers prayers. I loved that the author doesn't make prayer a "magic trick" but rather shows that God often chooses to answer our prayers in a way we don't expect or even want, but He knows is the best thing for us. A couple of other unique aspects of this book is that the main character's brother is deaf, so the author includes a lot of sign language. For instance, each chapter title is spelled out in sign language, and there's an alphabet chart at the back as well. There is also a decently expansive glossary of "Horse Talk" for those who aren't familiar with "that" language. :) I appreciated both of these things, as I love that the reader is encouraged to learn along the way. I think the book is probably perfect for the 6-12 age set, and is definitely geared that way.