Sunday, April 18, 2010

The Sweet Running Filly

The Sweet Running Filly by Barbara Van Tuyl and Pat Johnson was written for young adult horse lovers, but all ages would enjoy this equine mystery.

Set in the horse racing venue of the Mid-Atlantic states, this exciting novel had me cheering for the protagonist, Julie Jefferson, all the way. Especially when she saves the filly's life - not once, but twice!

Julie, a recent graduate from high school, works for her father in an antique shop but her heart belongs to horses. She and her dad meet an unsavory character who has a filly chained by a river. Mr. Jefferson buys the abused horse for Julie, much to her delight. With her connections at a nearby racing stable, she is able to trade working there for the filly's board and care. She soon learns that the filly she names Bonnie is most likely a valuable racehorse. Someone had exchanged horses, but who and why?

Besides being a fun mystery, I loved the authentic equine and racetrack terminology. The story has likable characters (including the variety of animals) and realistic villains. Although the ending was predictable, it was satisfying.

First published in 1971, the only improvement I could see to engage today's young readers is to include modern technology such as cell phones.

See to follow Julie and Bonnie in the rest of the series.

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