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Author: Orenstein, Denise Gosliner
Eleven-year-old Yonder stopped talking when her mother died, and she stopped going to school because of the bullies, knowing that her father would never even notice (although the social worker did); indeed the only creature that seems to care about her is the one-eyed Shetland pony called Dirt who lives on the neighboring farm--so when she discovers that Dirt is about to be sold for horsemeat she is determined to find a way to save him.
|Accelerated Reader Information:|
Interest Level: MG
Reading Level: 6.00
Points: 8.0 Quiz: 190829
|Reading Counts Information:|
Interest Level: 3-5
Reading Level: 7.30
Points: 11.0 Quiz: 72615
Kirkus Reviews (-) (05/15/17)
School Library Journal (05/01/17)
The Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books (A) (00/07/17)
Full Text Reviews:
School Library Journal - 05/01/2017 Gr 4–7—Eleven-year-old Yonder has not spoken since her mother's death in a car accident four years earlier. She lives in a "crooked little house" in Vermont with her father, who copes with his grief by drinking too much. Life is not any easier at Robert Frost Middle School, where she is targeted by a bully named Heywood Prune. Yonder's life changes dramatically, though, when a one-eyed Shetland pony appears—almost magically—on a rainy night. Dirt, named for one of the pony's favorite things, and Yonder form an immediate bond. Unlike anyone else, he seems to understand her unspoken thoughts, and as Yonder cares for Dirt, her heart begins to heal. When she learns that Dirt's owner, her heartless neighbor Miss Enid, plans to sell Dirt for horsemeat, Yonder knows that the pony's very life depends on her. Initially, she hides Dirt in her bedroom, but Trudy Trumpet, a determined and caring social worker, discovers Yonder's oversize housemate and the unsanitary conditions of her broken-down home. After Dirt is sold to a shady "petting zoo," Yonder embarks on an adventure to save the animal who saved her. As the plot unfolds, Yonder realizes that even though her life is not going the way she hoped, there are kind people, and a one-eyed pony, to help pave the way. This is an emotionally absorbing story with rich themes about redemption and friendship. VERDICT Hand this poignant tale to animal lovers and fans of horse fiction.—Shelley Sommer, Inly School, Scituate, MA - Copyright 2017 Publishers Weekly, Library Journal and/or School Library Journal used with permission.
Booklist - 08/01/2017 After her mother’s death four years ago, grief-stricken 11-year-old Yonder stopped speaking. Life hasn’t been easy—her father has retreated into drinking, and she’s bullied at school and often lonely. But when she meets a neglected Shetland pony that she names Dirt, a special bond develops into mutual support and trust. Yonder’s school absences, however, lead to an official intervention and foster care while her father is hospitalized. Meanwhile, she learns Dirt may be sold to a slaughterhouse. Her efforts to rescue him bring unexpected challenges but also new allies and, eventually, a potentially better future for herself—and Dirt. Yonder is an engaging protagonist whose intimate, frequently poetic first-person narrative captures her unspoken sorrows and dilemmas. Dirt’s unique in his own right—feisty, loyal, and affectionate—and their relationship’s shared rewards, companionship to comfort, are evident throughout. Side characters, while diverse, can be somewhat stock, like mean farmer Enid, and some animal-abuse situations can be disturbing. However, Yonder and her issues are sympathetically drawn in an often eloquent, affecting portrayal of loss, friendship, and healing. An author preface provides the real-life inspiration. - Copyright 2017 Booklist.