Posted in 2014-2015 Club, Not Mock Newbery

Mending Horses, by M. P. Barker

Mending HorsesSummary:  Daniel and his horse, Ivy, make their way in the world along with a group of unlikely friends.

Holiday House

Find it at WCPL


6 thoughts on “Mending Horses, by M. P. Barker

  1. Mending Horses is very heartfelt and well written book with a touching theme about finding your place in the world and an exciting plot filled with historical information about a time that I have not read many books on. At first the book may seem a little bit light for its topic, with the suspicious blacksmith and foolish constable however, after a short while, it deepens considerably as it must when telling about a time so filled with prejudice involving the Irish who had come to America in search of better lives but ended up being terribly mistreated, especially the children. Somehow though, because of the friendly and funny characters, the author was able to show the time period without dragging on the misery, which I thought helped it (however at the same time the author kept it deep and sad enough to be real with Liam’s parallel story which I appreciated.) The theme is so well developed that you hardly even know its there but in your mind, the entire time, you realize that everything was really leading up towards all the characters finding their place in the world. I found it amazing that this was a sequel, and unlike most, there wasn’t even the feeling of something missing and it completely stands on its own. Mending Horses is definitely a contender for the Newbery, and would be a great read for thirteen and fourteen year olds looking for a touching read or an exciting book on Irish Americans.

  2. I enjoyed Mending Horses very much! Because of some of the issues it deals with I think it is only appropriate for the top part of the Newbery age range but it is definitely still a contender. I appreciated the authors skill of using all her tools to create such a wonderful novel. She skillfully pairs joy and light heartedness with fear, prejudice tragedy. Her use of dialect is one of the best I’ve seen, the time period and theme play so nicely into the story and the character development was superb. I feel like I’m living in the story and sometimes I want to do things like shake Fogarty or Fred Chamberlain, comfort Billy/Naula or talk to Liam. even the minor characters like the acrobats, Professor I forget his name, and Augusta I felt strongly about. This is definitely a book I would recommend!!!!

  3. I agree with you guys (Abigail & Krista’s comments) completely, and I thought this was a really nice book because M. P. Barker did a good job of writing the story so it all made sense, and in the end it had a happy(ish) ending, in my opinion.

    The only weakness I find in this story is that it cusses a lot.

    1. I loved Mending Horses. It is the story of how teenage Daniel struggles to find a balance between forgetting his heritage or accepting the consequences of it. My favorite part of this book was how M.P. Barker informs you of each character’s personality. She uses their relationships with other characters(horses included) to show their beliefs and feelings. Also, if I can use a very tacky simile to describe this book, I would say that it is like a braid. There are three seemingly unconnected stories that the book follows. As it progresses, however, they begin to intertwine while physically remaining separated. At the end, all three come together to create a very whole and informative ending. Although it did have some cursing, it was nothing too severe and all characters were using the words for meaning and not emphasis. This book is a contender.

  4. Mending Horses is definitely going to be one of my top favorites this year. Same as Abigail, I like how the book shows freedom of Daniel and Billy/Nuala, and then it starts to mix in with secrets and developing friendship. The circus act and characters all mix in to which makes the story fill you with awe and joy. The end was the best part. Billy/Nuala has to make a choice of who she wants to be in this world, which we all have to at one point, and the end was touching overall. I like this book, and I know with it’s theme of finding and choosing who you want to be in this world and friendship, I know it has high chance of winning!

  5. I did not think this book was a Newbery winner. Is say its probably in my top 10 but ive read better. Te strongest point was probably the plot but everything else was not comparible to the other books i read.

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