Monday, November 11, 2019

Mattie Richardson / Appaloosy Books

We have received a set of books, all four books in the Mattie Richardson's Horses in History Series written by Author Mattie Richardson/Appaloosy Books, which include the titles Appaloosy, Dusty's Trail, Golden Sunrise, and Day and Night. We also get to review the PDF of the brand new Day and Night Enrichment Guide for the Day and Night book.

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Who are the Books For?

The books are written and intended for kids aged eight to fourteen. Which is perfect because all my children are in that age range! This is especially great if you are homeschooling all of your children and they are either in the target age range or they read at the level of the target age range. Why is this? It is ideal because you can create a lesson plan that all your children can do. And of course, you modify this lesson plan based on the age of the child(ren) and also of their ability level. You always want to challenge them. 

About this Book

This is really cool because these series are written from the perspective of the horses themselves, not humans in a time period where horses were a big part of history. While some may think that a set of books happen in the same time period or that one intentionally follows the storyline and elaborate on them from book one to three, that is not the case here. Each book is stand alone in terms of the time period it takes place. As well, they are of different lengths. 

She also signed each of the books, which is really cool, especially for kids to see. 

Different Ways to Teach/Use the Books:

#1 The cool part about this is that I have my eight-year-old read the shortest chapter book in the series while having my teenager read the longest book. (To be honest with you though, in this house, they all read long length books). Then you can have each of the kids compare and contrast what they read in a group setting and help to teach the "Class" about the book they read. Like a book report. 
So it's a way to engage the whole family in the series. This teaches them to work independently and then how to do a presentation to a group without the whole group knowing what was read. This is also an important skill to learn. 

#2 Have each child rotate the books they read and do a more traditional format where they do Q & A about each book. Then have them contrast and compare in a group setting separating out each book. So they work on Dusty's Trail, for example, and either they take turns reading it OR you buy each of them their own copy. Then they write their notes down & then compare in a group setting afterwards. What is great about this option is allowing them to pull out what they learn from the book and then in coming together like a reading group, they can compare and learn something from each other. This is especially an important skill so they learn that there is not just one way to see things. 

These are, of course, just TWO ways to be able to use these books as part of a literature class for your (home)school students.

My Son's Overall Review: 

I bet you wish you could be like Doctor Doolittle, right? In these books by Mattie Richardson, you get to get the opportunity to see from a horse's point of view in the books Golden Sunrise, Dusty's Trail, Appaloosa, and in from the perspectives of two horses, Day and Night. This refreshing take on olden stories gives these short chapter books an immersive feeling.

About the Day and Night Enrichment Guide Study Guide:

The study guide, which gets emailed to you, is two pages shy of one hundred pages. So it's clearly a well thought out study guide. There is also the answer key which is emailed separately. I greatly appreciate this as a teacher because that means that the students aren't privy to the answers without teacher knowledge or consent. Not that it's much of an issue in this house, but I can image having worked in classrooms before.

It includes vocabulary, writing, history, living history, geography, fun facts, facts about horses, a biography of an important person in the war and so much more.

It is broken down into sections based on the chapter and the great thing is that if you are at home, you can just print out.

I appreciate a good study guide. In fact, I hope she decides to be able to do study guides for each of the books that she does. Especially when we are talking about taking it into the schools or into the homeschool classroom.

I could go through each part and pros and con's but it's even cooler that she did a video about it and shows off more about her guide right below on her Facebook page.

See her video here with more about the series and the guide specifically: 

About the Day and Night Book:

This is the best-formated book out of the series, in my honest opinion. You can tell what the chapters are and there is a horse under each new chapter too which is nice.

The book opens up with a quote from General Robert Lee "There is many a war-horse who is more entitled to immortality than the man who rides him."

There was no table of contents in this book but honestly, it flows really well into the first chapter.
There is still the "words used in this book you should know" section which is nice as well.

Overall, this was a decent book but honestly not one that I would say would stem beyond a good book for kids for literature class. Of course, you can draw out some history within it. I do think that there is a market for this with younger kids but less so with adults.

My Son's Review:

The book Day and Night is quite an interesting title. The double perspectives are something I enjoy a lot in this book. Something that I find problematic with the book was that, again, the text was too compact and scrunched up, making it easy to disengage with the reader, including myself.

About the Appaloosy Book:

This starts off with Storm being born. I actually found the way this one was written, it was easy to follow and to be able to see it in your head as if it were a movie playing. This is hugely important to books to be able to get across what they are saying in the story. I would say that this is pretty darn well written.

While there are drawings here and there in the beginning, there aren't many you go on in the story. It would honestly be nice to have some more as you go on in the story for continuity but again, not the end of the world.

This book is well written in my opinion esp out of the lot thus far that I have read. This one would be easier to pick out pieces of things such as history, descriptive language and be able to make a lesson with it it.

My Son's Review:

The title Appaloosy is based around a horse that is in a Native American tribe.  A plus about this book is that there a multitude of pictures integrated into the story at points to help carry the story along. A negative about it is hard to follow the storyline, making it difficult to continue along.

About the Dusty's Trail Book:

I like that there is a glossary at the beginning of the book for words that are needed. However, I do wish that it was better formatted. 

As I am reading, I am wishing there to be more descriptive language in where it is needed to be able to paint the scene to be able to "see it as I read it". That makes it a little bit tougher as a read. I think that it makes assumptions that people know things about how to take care of horses, or about horses, and this, of course, is simply not the case. In fact, my aunt has horses, and though I never grew up around them, I am trying to picture what is going on and finding a little difficult to follow sometimes. As I am reading on further in the book though, it does get better and more descriptive. In terms of grammar and readability, I would definitely have made some edits because a few times, even though minor, it was distracting to read because I could catch the error and it made me stop and have to re-read it for a second to catch the gist of what was said again.

However, it definitely is still a good book and especially for younger kids. In terms of the story itself, it was actually well thought out and done. 

My Son's Review:

The smallest book is the bunch is named Dusty’s Trail. It is a youth named Levi who is excited about an advertisement for the Pony Express that is directed towards his age and is known to be dangerous. Something that intrigued me was the way the book was written, in stanza-like paragraphs spaced from each other equally, which made it easier to read. One thing that could be changed is how densely the words are packed, although that is subjective and besides that, it is a fun book to read. In the story, however, the only thing that is resistant to this change is Dusty, the horse Levi possesses. Join Levi and Dusty as they journey through the Pony Express, and how they become closer as friends.

About the Golden Sunrise Book:

I really like that this book has images and drawing in it. Unlike Dusty's Trail, in which I felt images could have helped, especially given that these are written for younger kids, I was glad to see some images here.

I have a family member who actually owns a Palomino horse, so this will be interesting.

Why are all the words and titles for the Table of Contents in capital letters? A small thing, but I noticed that right off. But I do like that in the "Words used" page before, which may be better in the page after the table of contents, it is actually laid out better than Dusty's Trail.

A little more historical context, in the beginning, would be nice but to be honest this is actually pretty well written. Unlike Dusty's Trail, which at times was hard for me to follow, this was actually fairly easy to follow and see visually.

I like too that at the end of the book she talks about "a blast from the past" and includes things that happened at the Alamo.

Overall, I like this book in how it's written better.

My Son's Review:

The last book I read, Golden Sunrise, is about fighting for Texas independence. An advantage this book has is that it is about the different views a horse would experience, which makes it more interesting. A downside it has is a problem I've noticed over all of these books, which is less engaging work, although that is a matter of opinion.

OVERALL, I like that these books are written from the aspect of the horse and I think that will draw in people. There were some editorial things I would suggest changing but honestly think that this is a good book set for younger kids. I would actually change the age from eight to fourteen to eight to eleven. 

Mattie Richardson / Appaloosy Books Social Media Links:


Come read the other reviews from the Homeschool Review Crew by clicking through below: 

Book Set: Appaloosy, Dusty's Trail, Golden Sunrise & Day and Night {Mattie Richardson/Appaloosy Books Reviews}

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