When an inheritance seems to make it possible for Angie to buy the beautiful Arabian she rides at Smitty's stables, she finds her father and a jealous girl standing in her way.
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Grade 4-6-Angie wants to buy Lila, the Arabian mare she loves and has been riding at a nearby stable for several years. She is close to having enough money through an inheritance, but needs $300 more. Her attempts to earn the cash; her budding romance with Horatio, her older brother's friend; and her rivalry with Sage, whose father works at the stable, make up the main plot line. When Sage's carelessness causes possibly permanent injury to Lila, Angie realizes that she wants to own the mare whether she can ever be ridden again or not. Characterization is Polikoff's strength. Angie and her family, Horatio, and the stable employees all are convincing and interesting characters. Plot development, however, is less successful. Angie's relationship with Sage is never believably resolved. There may not be enough actual riding or interaction between Angie and Lila to please horse story lovers, but readers should enjoy Horatio and Angie's understated romance. Described on the jacket copy as a "companion" to Life's a Funny Proposition, Horatio (Holt, 1992), Riding the Wind might be more fully appreciated by readers who enjoyed that novel.
Louise L. Sherman, Anna C. Scott School, Leonia, NJ
Copyright 1995 Reed Business Information, Inc.
Gr. 5^-7. Polikoff's first novel, Life's a Funny Proposition, Horatio (1992), was a quietly wrenching story of Horatio's grief at his father's death and of the boy's renewal in a small town in the Wisconsin woods. This story's told from the viewpoint of Horatio's friend Angie, who dreams of owning a beautiful Arabian horse. When the horse is injured through the recklessness of a tough new girl, Angie nurses her beloved horse back to health with the help of Horatio and other friends in the community. Gradually Angie is able to forgive the new girl and to reach out to her. The story's a little too quiet this time, though horse lovers will grab it for the vivid stable lore. As in the first book, what's best here is the sense of connection between the friends and the woods around them. In an exquisite climax, Horatio gives Angie the poem "A Blessing" about two ponies that welcome two loving friends, and he takes her hand. Hazel Rochman
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