________________ CM . . . . Volume XXI Number . . . .June 19, 2015


Galloping Through History: Amazing True Horse Stories.

Elizabeth MacLeod.
Toronto, ON: Annick Press, 2015.
82 pp., trade pbk., hc., pdf & html, $14.95 (pbk.), $24.95 (hc.).
ISBN 978-1-55451-699-5 (pbk.), ISBN 978-1-55451-700-8 (hc.), ISBN 978-1-55451-702-2 (pdf), ISBN 978-1-55451-701-5 (html).

Subject Headings:
Horses-Juvenile literature.
Animals and civilization-Juvenile literature.
Animals and history-Juvenile literature.

Grades 4-6 / Ages 9-11.

Review by Kay Weisman.

** /4


What was that? Sybil swiftly turned her horse, Star, off the trail into a dense thicket.

Someone was coming down the path, right toward them! Sybil held her breath. Please keep still, Star, she thought.

A moment later, two rough-looking men crept stealthily down the trail. Spying through the branches, Sybil saw them and shuddered. Were they enemy soldiers or thieves? It hardly mattered—either group would kill a young woman like her. Laying her hand on Star’s strong neck reassured Sybil a little.

“I told thee, I heard something,” one of the men hissed to the other.

“No one is out on a wet night like tonight,” replied the second man angrily. “Thou art hearing things again. Let’s go warm up with a pint of ale.”

Sybil watched the men disappear, then anxiously waited a few more moments to make sure they didn’t return. Sighing with relief, she finally wheeled Star back onto the path.

“Good old Star,” Sybil whispered, patting her horse. “Thee didn’t make a sound. Now run fast—the Patriots are depending on us!”


internal artMacLeod offers readers six stories of horses or breeds with historical significance. She includes Bucephalus (the steed of Alexander the Great), mustangs of the North American west (as used by Native tribes), Star (the horse of American patriot Sybil Ludington), the Morgans and Thoroughbreds who ran the Pony Express, pit ponies that were used in the coal mines of Europe and North America, and Seabiscuit, the race horse that defeated War Admiral in 1939. Each chapter includes a main narrative, several sidebars, and captioned illustrations.

internal art

     Those looking for factual information will be disappointed by MacLeod’s decision to fictionalize her presentations and include invented dialogue (see quote above). In some cases, contradictory information is given: one sidebar detailing Buffalo Bill states, “historians aren’t sure he actually ever rode for the Pony Express,” while a caption on the facing page reports, “Buffalo Bill is said to have held the record for the longest Pony Express ride. He rode 21 horses to travel 518 kilometers (322 miles) non-stop.” No source notes are included. Back matter includes a time line, horsey places to visit, main sources (none appear to be primary), and further reading (books for children). Purchase only where demand for this topic is great.


Kay Weisman works as a youth librarian at West Vancouver Memorial Library.

To comment on this title or this review, send mail to cm@umanitoba.ca.

Copyright © the Manitoba Library Association. Reproduction for personal use is permitted only if this copyright notice is maintained. Any other reproduction is prohibited without permission.
Published by
The Manitoba Library Association
ISSN 1201-9364
Hosted by the University of Manitoba.

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