A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this book.
Kids will learn about life on a farm, including chores, animal behavior, and the differences between city and country living.
Nell learns that it's often better to look for what is there than to notice what is missing.
Positive Role Models
Liv and Rita are loving, open, and warm to Nell at a time when the young girl needs to connect. Angel shows Nell new ways of seeing her world.
Violence & Scariness
Nell's frightened by a galloping horse; she falls and hurts herself, but the horse doesn't touch her. Angel says she overheard adults talking about putting an animal to sleep.
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"Hell" is used once.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Sarah Lean's A Hundred Horses tells the story of 11-year-old Nell, whose mom sends her to live on her aunt's farm during a school break. There she has the expected city-girl-visits-the-country learning experiences, but also befriends Angel, an almost magical girl who radically alters Nell's worldview and her ability to trust. A couple of times there's an apparent threat of harm against a child or farm animal. There are also suspenseful chase scenes and one use of the word "hell," but nothing in this book would upset middle-graders, teens, or their parents. A Hundred Horses emphasizes a loving connection between humans and animals, and the ties that bind members of a family -- biological or otherwise.
Is It Any Good?
To an adult, A Hundred Horses gets off to a slow, predictable start, with the troubled city girl sent to visit a farm where fresh air and hard work will set her straight. That happens, but there's also a lot of magic and mystery: Angel's story, the legend of the hundred horses, and the connection between humans and animals. As the plot and characters deepen, the story grows more beautiful and uplifting. This emotional book is a marvelous find, especially for girls who love horses.
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.