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Customer Reviews for Tyndale House #1: Horse Dreams: Backyard Horses

Tyndale House #1: Horse Dreams: Backyard Horses

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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30 out of 30100%customers would recommend this product to a friend.
Customer Reviews for #1: Horse Dreams: Backyard Horses
Review 1 for #1: Horse Dreams: Backyard Horses
Overall Rating: 
4 out of 5
4 out of 5

One of My Favorite Authors!

Date:February 3, 2014
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T Kenzie
Age:Under 18
Gender:female
Quality: 
3 out of 5
3 out of 5
Value: 
3 out of 5
3 out of 5
Meets Expectations: 
4 out of 5
4 out of 5
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.
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Review 2 for #1: Horse Dreams: Backyard Horses
Overall Rating: 
4 out of 5
4 out of 5

Not your standard Christian children's book

Date:August 4, 2013
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RuthSophia
Quality: 
4 out of 5
4 out of 5
Value: 
4 out of 5
4 out of 5
Meets Expectations: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
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.
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Review 3 for #1: Horse Dreams: Backyard Horses
Overall Rating: 
3 out of 5
3 out of 5

sweet but a bit slow

Date:July 25, 2013
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Leeann
Location:CdA, ID
Age:25-34
Gender:female
Quality: 
3 out of 5
3 out of 5
Value: 
3 out of 5
3 out of 5
Meets Expectations: 
3 out of 5
3 out of 5
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.
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Review 4 for #1: Horse Dreams: Backyard Horses
Overall Rating: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5

A Sweet Start to a Series

Date:June 27, 2013
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Anonymous
Location:Columbus, GA
Gender:female
Quality: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Value: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Meets Expectations: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
"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 5 for #1: Horse Dreams: Backyard Horses
Overall Rating: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5

Great horse story for young readers

Date:June 27, 2013
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Loralee
Location:Withee, WI
Age:35-44
Gender:female
Quality: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Value: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Meets Expectations: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
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.
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Review 6 for #1: Horse Dreams: Backyard Horses
Overall Rating: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5

Great Book for Little Horse Lovers

Date:June 25, 2013
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rlighthouse
Location:PA
Age:25-34
Gender:female
Quality: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Value: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Meets Expectations: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
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.
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Review 7 for #1: Horse Dreams: Backyard Horses
This review is fromHorse Dreams - eBook.
Overall Rating: 
4 out of 5
4 out of 5

Date:August 5, 2013
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Connie
Location:Saint John, NB
Age:55-65
Gender:female
Quality: 
4 out of 5
4 out of 5
Value: 
4 out of 5
4 out of 5
Meets Expectations: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Cute story that I can relate to, since I was a daydreamer too and I love horses.
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Review 8 for #1: Horse Dreams: Backyard Horses
Overall Rating: 
4 out of 5
4 out of 5

Date:June 11, 2013
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Shelli W
Location:Indiana
Age:35-44
Gender:female
Quality: 
4 out of 5
4 out of 5
Value: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Meets Expectations: 
4 out of 5
4 out of 5
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.
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Review 9 for #1: Horse Dreams: Backyard Horses
Overall Rating: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5

Just for Fun

Date:June 10, 2013
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eb7bibliophile
Location:High Desert West
Age:55-65
Gender:female
Quality: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Value: 
4 out of 5
4 out of 5
Meets Expectations: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
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.
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Review 10 for #1: Horse Dreams: Backyard Horses
Overall Rating: 
4 out of 5
4 out of 5

Delightful and Inspirational Story

Date:June 6, 2013
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bookworm
Location:Pennsylvania
Age:25-34
Gender:female
Quality: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Value: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Meets Expectations: 
4 out of 5
4 out of 5
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.
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Review 11 for #1: Horse Dreams: Backyard Horses
Overall Rating: 
4 out of 5
4 out of 5

Cute

Date:June 4, 2013
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Virginia
Location:upstate NY
Age:35-44
Gender:female
Quality: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Value: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Meets Expectations: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
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".
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Review 12 for #1: Horse Dreams: Backyard Horses
This review is fromHorse Dreams - eBook.
Overall Rating: 
4 out of 5
4 out of 5

Date:July 8, 2013
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.
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Review 13 for #1: Horse Dreams: Backyard Horses
This review is fromHorse Dreams - eBook.
Overall Rating: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5

Loved this chapter book!

Date:June 28, 2013
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georgettegirl
Quality: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Value: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Meets Expectations: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
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.
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Review 14 for #1: Horse Dreams: Backyard Horses
This review is fromHorse Dreams - eBook.
Overall Rating: 
3 out of 5
3 out of 5

Pretty good read for children

Date:June 22, 2013
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Melissa
Age:25-34
Gender:female
Quality: 
4 out of 5
4 out of 5
Value: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Meets Expectations: 
3 out of 5
3 out of 5
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.
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Review 15 for #1: Horse Dreams: Backyard Horses
Overall Rating: 
4 out of 5
4 out of 5

Charming tale

Date:August 29, 2012
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Faye
Age:Under 18
Gender:female
Quality: 
4 out of 5
4 out of 5
Value: 
4 out of 5
4 out of 5
Meets Expectations: 
4 out of 5
4 out of 5
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!
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Review 16 for #1: Horse Dreams: Backyard Horses
Overall Rating: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5

Epic - A must read

Date:August 29, 2012
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hannah97
Location:Cottonwood, CA
Age:Under 18
Gender:female
Quality: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Value: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Meets Expectations: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
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.
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Review 17 for #1: Horse Dreams: Backyard Horses
Overall Rating: 
3 out of 5
3 out of 5

Simple, age appropriate tale of God's sovereignty

Date:August 27, 2012
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aklinslow
Location:Anchorage, AK
Age:25-34
Gender:female
Quality: 
4 out of 5
4 out of 5
Value: 
4 out of 5
4 out of 5
Meets Expectations: 
4 out of 5
4 out of 5
"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.
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Review 18 for #1: Horse Dreams: Backyard Horses
Overall Rating: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5

Wonderful Christian Fiction for Young Horse Lovers

Date:August 1, 2012
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HomeSchool Mom of 4
Location:Lovely, MS
Age:25-34
Gender:female
Quality: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Value: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Meets Expectations: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Backyard Horses was exactly the series I was looking for for my daughters, who love Jesus, love horses, and are in 2nd grade. Miss Mackall also wrote a series for older readers called "Winnie the Horse Gentler" and I tried that first but I'd recommend it for middle school students and up. Besides being harder to read, those books sometimes deal with harder issues that wouldn't be understandable by anyone younger than pre-teen. Backyard Horses, however, is a fairly new series and is written at around a 2nd/3rd grade reading level. Love, love, love this series!
My daughters love Ellie, the heroine of the story! There are so far 4 books in the series and we started with book 1 in order to read them, well, in order. The heroine of the story, Ellie, is a sweet, oftentimes feisty, day-dreaming 4th grader. In the first book, she often day-dreamed about her own horse. She decides to do a "science" experiment... she'll "beg, cry, and pray" for a horse of her own and find out what way works best for getting horses. I don't think it's spoiling anything to say that God will answer her prayer... but in a different way than she imagined.
I highly recommend this book to elementary school children. It's filled with a good story, important lessons, and a little girl who puts her hope in God. I also highly recommend Cowboy Colt, Chasing Dream, and Nightmare, the others in the series. By the way, you can earn this book for free by participating in Tyndale's Summer Reading Program through the end of August!
+1point
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Review 19 for #1: Horse Dreams: Backyard Horses
Overall Rating: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5

A great book for beginning chapter book readers

Date:July 23, 2012
Customer Avatar
tiinaj1
Location:Omaha, NE
Age:35-44
Gender:female
Quality: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Value: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Meets Expectations: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
One little girl dreaming of owning a horse and planning on all the ways she can work on her parents to talk them into getting her a horse. Cry? Beg? Throw a fit? It's never worked before.... Unfortunately it hasn't stopped her from daydreaming in class and getting into trouble - and that's how the book opens. I loved how involved Ellie gets in her daydreaming up to and including "daydreaming" up a horse outside her classroom window - or is it real? If so, no one believes her...
Horse Dreams is very well written, doesn't talk down to kids and it doesn't seem as though Dandi MacKall is lecturing or "teaching" the kids who read it a lesson. I was very impressed with her method of helping Ellie come to understand her parents point of view about why she can't have a horse. The wonderful part of the book though is that Ellie shows a maturity by the end of the book as she helps an abused horse find a new home and Ellie accepts that her job is to help this "backyard horse" relax and let others help her. I really liked this little girl and I'm looking forward to reading other books in this series.
You can begin reading this series aloud to your younger children around Grade 1 and the reading level is for kids 4th grade and up (it's actually very easy to read and moves quickly).
Much thanks to Dandi MacKall and Tyndale Publishing for donating this book for review and giveaway. I was not paid for my review services and was not required to provide a positive review.
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Review 20 for #1: Horse Dreams: Backyard Horses
Overall Rating: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5

Great book for kids of all ages

Date:February 20, 2012
Customer Avatar
cyndidd
Location:Troy, MO
Age:25-34
Gender:female
Quality: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Value: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Meets Expectations: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Ellie James has a big imagination, and even bigger dreams. She wants to own a horse. But not just any horse. Ellie wants a black stallion show horse. So she prays for one. Every night, throughout the day, as often as she thinks about it, she prays. While sitting in her fourth grade class one day, her mind wanders and she imagines riding her black stallion to the school, where all her friends are cheering her on. As the teacher calls her name and she snaps out of it, she realizes that part of her dream was real. There was a horse outside!
Follow Ellie as she learns that sometimes the answers to our prayers aren't always what we would imagine them to be. But as long as we trust God, He is always there to give us exactly what we need.
Tyndale House Publishers has provided me with a complimentary copy of this book for this review.
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