Title: Pretty Lady of SaratogaPretty Lady of Saratoga
Author: Deborah Felder
Illustrator: Sandy Rabinowitz
Pages: 122
Reading Level: 8-12
Star Rating: ★★★★

Horse story!

The Story.

Polly Canfield just adores Pretty Lady, the beautiful Thoroughbred that is being boarded at her father’s training stables. A race horse, Pretty Lady is at the Canfield stables to recover from the ill treatment she received at her last home. Polly is mad at how badly Pretty Lady was treated, but has hopes that in time Pretty Lady will come to view her as a friend, someone whom she can trust.

But before this can happen, Pretty Lady’s owner decides to move her to his own private stables, where he will use her as a breed mare. Polly is devastated at this news – just when she and Pretty Lady were starting to get used to each other, she’s going to be ripped away! And all to be used a breed mare, when Polly knows that Pretty Lady still has racing spirit in her!

Can Polly convince Mr. Harrington, Pretty Lady’s owner, to give Pretty Lady one more chance on the race course?

Discussion.

­­Pretty Lady of Saratoga is from the same series as Pride of the Green Mountains and Spirit of the West. I think I liked it the best out of the three.

Pretty Lady is moved just a few miles down the road, so Polly begins to visit her and tries to train her. When she is caught on the Harrington’s property by Mike, she admits to having trespassed there and explains her situation to Mike, whom she believes to be the stable boy, but who is in fact Mr. Harrington’s son. He quickly sympathizes with Polly and invites her to return. Together they re-train Pretty Lady and, after Mr. Harrington returns, they convince him to enter Pretty Lady in the Travers Stake which she wins.

An interesting dynamic occurs when we learn that Mr. Harrington wants Mike to work an office job but Mike wants to train horses professionally. Ultimately, Polly appeals to Mr. Harrington to give both the boy and the horse the chance to prove themselves, which he allows. In the end, all are in happy agreement.

As with all books in this series, a short appendix is included describing the history of the breed of horse featured in the story (in this case a thoroughbred).

‘Gee’ is used six times.

Conclusion. Not fine literature, but fun for horse-loving littles.

Review © 2014 Laura Verret

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