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The Girl Who Loved Wild Horses by Paul Goble
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The Girl Who Loved Wild Horses (1978)

by Paul Goble

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Summary: This book is a folktale of the Plains Indians , who followed the buffalo and were expert horsemen. A young girl feels destined to live and run with the wild horse; eventually, her family agrees to let her follow her dream. In the end, she becomes one of them.

This book, a Caldecott winner, has beautiful descriptive language, illustrations, and a message: be willing to give up comfort and security to follow your dreams. It also points out the special understanding that sometimes occurs between an animal and a human.

Reading level: 4.7
Genre: Traditional literature – legends & myths
  rdg301library | May 24, 2015 |
The Girl Who Loved Wild Horses is another amazing Native American tale about a girl from a small village that loves to ride wild horses. One day, a storm comes while she is riding the horses and it chases her and the horses far from the village where she meets a beautiful colt that is the leader of all the wild horses. He invites her to stay with the wild horses and she runs with them for years before two hunters from her village spot her. They end up capturing her and bringing her back to the villages but her family soon recognizes her longing to be back with the horses. The girl falls ill and last wish is to return to the horses and her family respects this and sends her with their finest horse as well as hand woven blankets. One day, a hunter notices that the girl is no longer riding with the horses, instead, there is a beautiful mare running on the hills and they realize that the girl is finally one of the horses. The pages are white but the illustrations are colorful and outlined in black so that you eye is really drawn to the pictures. This is a great read and addition to any classroom because it a traditional tale that can help students deal with people passing on and grief.
  laineyh | Mar 15, 2015 |
Summary: This is the story of a young Native American girl who loves and is comforted by horses. Her relationship to them is one of deeper understanding than any other of her people have experienced before. Her people see this and acknowledge it as a special gift. The horses would follow the girl wherever she wandered. Until the day the storm came and it took the girl far away from the herd. Without her nearby the horses began acting strangely unlike before, the people knew they were not the same without the girl. Though she had been lost, the girl makes her way back to the herd and to her home.

Personal Response: I have always loved this book! I was fortunately exposed to a lot of Native American experiences at my elementary school. This book was read to us at the school library by one of the students mothers, dressed in a beautiful colorful ceremony dress. Along with the illustrations in the story and the environment in which I first heard it, has remained a unique memory I haven't forgotten. I would absolutely want to share it within a classroom someday and follow up with explorations into a culture and time that students will not be familiar with.

Classroom Expansion:
1. Either a time they felt they were special at something or had a special connection with a pet or toy, allow students to draw/ construct an object they feel reflects their interest. In small groups, have the students share and discuss their special interests with the group.
2. For younger students, you could expand on the importance of horses to many Native American tribes and allow them to color their own wild horses.
a. Using toilet paper rolls, Popsicle sticks, markers (or paint), and yard, students could decorate one horse. When finished and dry, the students can then display all of them as the collective class herd.
  KaitlynBlevins | Feb 12, 2015 |
A Native American girl becomes so in love with horses that she even feels more comfortable with them than people. The Native Americans believe that at the end of the story she became a horse! I think this book would be great for a section on folklore, or maybe put on display when studying Native Americans.
  SRThompson | Nov 20, 2014 |
I believe that The Girl Who Loved Wild Horses is a good book to inform about the Native American lifestyle of the past. By telling a story about a girl who loves and cares for the wild horses of her tribe, this book gives readers an idea of what a young girl might enjoy doing in a time period long ago. For example, the book explains that the girl collects firewood with her mother daily and sleeps outside in a teepee. These examples are ones that create an image of an everyday lifestyle that children may not be familiar with. Additionally, this book is filled with beautiful illustrations. These keep the story interesting as well as helps readers visualize what the girl’s outdoor life consisted of. The purpose of the story is to tell about this girl who connects with the horses in a special way and is eventually invited to live with them. Though the purpose of this book is simply to story-tell, I believe the features helped to make this book informative of the Native American people. ( )
  sarahwarner329 | Sep 14, 2014 |
Showing 1-5 of 50 (next | show all)
This is a story of a Plains Indian girl who joins a band of wild horses and eventually, the story implies, becomes a horse herself. Includes full-color illustrations on each page of this engaging story.
 
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For Bonnie who loves horses and for Janet
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The people were always moving from place to place following the herds of buffalo.
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Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0689845049, Hardcover)

For most people, being swept away in a horse stampede during a raging thunderstorm would be a terrifying disaster. For the young Native American girl in Paul Goble's 1979 Caldecott-winning masterpiece, The Girl Who Loved Wild Horses, it is a blessing. Although she loves her people, this girl has a much deeper, almost sacred connection to her equine friends. The storm gives her the opportunity to fulfill her dream--to live in a beautiful land among the wild horses she loves.

With brilliant, stylized illustrations and simple text, Paul Goble tells the story of a young woman who follows her heart, and the family that respects and accepts her uniqueness. Considering how difficult it is for some communities to allow friendships to grow between people of different cultures, this village's support for the girl's companions of choice is admirable. Goble's bold paintings reflect this noble open-mindedness. The young horse fanatic of the house will joyfully add this book to his or her collection. Children are passionate people; they will relate. (All ages) --Emilie Coulter

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:14:37 -0400)

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A Native American girl grows fond of her tribe's wild horses and eventually becomes one of them, roaming happy and free.

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