Monday, January 21, 2013

Nonfiction Monday: Two Horse Series

I usually buy series at the beginning of the year, so I save up notes for myself all year long about what new nonfiction series we need. We need a new horse series. The one we currently have covers the different breeds, but it's old, very text-heavy, and doesn't have enough pictures. Mostly younger kids ask for the horse, dog, and cat breed books.

I asked Bearport if they had anything, since they are my go-to nonfiction people and they offered me a sample from an older series, Horse Power, which showcases the jobs of different types of horses. This particular volume is Race Horses by Michael Sandler. It follows the general format for Bearport's narrative nonfiction with an overarching story - a new race horse, Barbaro running a 2006 race - with additional information and history grouped around it. However, this is just a little too old. Weird to say something from 2007 is too old, but Bearport's style makes the contemporary story date a little too fast. Nobody knows who Barbaro is anymore, especially since he died at the end of the race. That was a little unexpected and I was surprised they chose this particular story to form the book around. There's also books on military, police, show, therapy, and working horses.

The second series I tried, Horse Breed Roundup, is produced by Bellwether Media. I don't think I've ever looked anything of theirs before. They were listed in SLJ's new series listing. Each book covers a different horse breed. This particular one is The American Saddlebred Horse by Rachel Grack. It's 24 pages long, a little smaller than picture book size, about 8x8. There's an introduction to the breed, history, description of how the horses are shown, list of some famous horses, and a brief "where the breed is now" kind of section. There's a glossary, bibliography, and index. This one is a little thin on information, and I found the lengthy section on different paces utterly boring, but it's what the kids will want - pictures and information.

Verdict: The Bearport series might work if you want a series on working horses, but it's just a little too old. I would love it if they brought out a new series like Cat-ographies, only for horses. Meanwhile, although Horse Breed Roundup isn't perfect, it will do and I will probably add a selection of the titles, but not all ten. I have a budget to watch!

Race Horses by Michael Sandler
ISBN: 1597163988; Published 2007 by Bearport; Review copy provided by the publisher.

The American Saddlebred Horse by Rachel Grack
ISBN: 9781600146541; Published 2012 by Bellwether Media; Borrowed from another library in my consortium; Select titles added to January order list


Tara @ A Teaching Life said...

Thanks for the reference to the nonfiction publishers, I will have to investigate their list.

Books4Learning said...

Nice review. I love Bearport books. I am not familiar with Bellwether Media though, so I will have to check them out. These are good books to have on hand since so many young girls are fascinated with horses.