A somewhat idealised and nostalgic version of the life of wild horses that will enchant animal lovers

Meeting of the Mustangs - Cathy Kennedy

I was given an ARC copy of this book and I voluntarily choose to review it.

I don’t read children’s books often, but I’ve become quite interested in horses recently and was curious about this book, that is a short read.

The story is not a fairytale, but it follows the life of a mustang colt from a very young age.He loses his father from a young age, later gets separated from the band of horses he lives with (that includes his mother), lives a number of adventures, including some tragic ones, returns to the band and gets separated from them again. We read of his meetings with other animals, and also with human beings.

There’s no specific time reference, although it seems to take place in the recent past (there are phones but no mention of mobiles or high technology). The horse seems to be able to roam around freely through several states, only rarely coming into contact with human beings.

The story is told in the third person, but it changes point of view (it might not be that noticeable, although I wondered if it might result confusing). I thought at first that it was third person restricted, mostly from what appears to be the point of view of the horse, but at other times it seems to be their person omniscient (as the unknown narrator talks about humans, trucks, houses, that the horse couldn’t know, whilst at other times he doesn’t know what an apple is), and there are fragments from the points of view of some of the humans he comes across, from young children to adults (some with better intentions than others).

The mustang at the centre of the story is a free and wild animal that keeps running away from humans as if responding to a call. Although not as humanised as in some other stories for children, the author attributes some human qualities to the animal (who feels ashamed, grateful, lonely…) that will make it more interesting to children and might also help discuss important subjects with them.

The ending is not only positive but also provides a new beginning and promises more adventures for our friend.

The language is not overly complicated although will require good reading skills. It manages to paint a vivid picture of the landscape and the life of a horse that would make a great reading story for younger children too.

A somewhat idealised and nostalgic version of the life of wild horses that will enchant animal lovers.