The Girl Who Loved Wild Horses
Goble, Paul. 1978. THE GIRL WHO LOVED WILD HORSES. New York, NY: Bradbury Press. ISBN 0027365700
2. Plot Summary:
A Native American girl has a special gift that enables her to understand and live peacefully with wild horses. A thunderstorm causes the girl and wild horses to stray from their home and people and become lost. The girl is eventually found and returns home, but she is lonely for the horses, sad and becomes ill. She eventually chooses to live among the wild horses where she can be happy and free.
3. Critical Analysis:
Paul Goble’s beautiful artwork conveys the message of this story without help from the text. The stark black of the thunderstorm is a direct contrast to the otherwise sunny, white illustrations on the other pages. The girl is an archetype for good and she sacrifices her love for her people to live with the wild horses where she is truly happy. She represents the human element that we are part of nature. She becomes one with the horses and they accept her into their herd as we should accept and treat nature as if it were part of us. The last page’s artwork was the most poignant to me because of the duality of the animals. The two horses are intertwined in a circle as in the circle of life, endlessness, and eternity. The animals each have a partner, two rabbits, two lizards, and two gophers, as if to emphasize balance, creation, and the continuation of the species. The setting is simple and direct and the element of time passes quickly. Children will enjoy the fantastic story of running off to live in the wild along with the detailed and colorful artwork.
4. Review Excerpts:
Regina Medal Award 2006: Established in 1959, Regina Medal, honors an individual's continued distinguished contribution to children's literature.
Caldecott Medal Award Winner1979
Reviewed in SCHOOL LIBRARY JOURNAL “Paul Goble's beautifully-told, Caldecott Award-winning book”
Starred review in HORNBOOK
Starred review in BOOKLIST
Related books: Goble, Paul. BUFFALO WOMAN. ISBN 0689711093
De Paola, Tomie. THE LEGEND OF THE BLUEBONNET. ISBN 0399209379
*Read BUFFALO WOMAN and compare/contrast with this story.
*Students can create their own folktale about their own hero who goes to live with a group of animals. Research the animal group and discuss why the hero wants to live among them and how the animals accept him/her.
*Discuss sacrifice and have students find examples of sacrifice in the above-mentioned books. Have students write about what possession they would sacrifice for their family.
*Find other Native American songs and chants to read and sing.