Mattie Richardson's Horses of History: A Homeschool Review Crew Post

Tuesday, November 12, 2019

Cecilia went through a phase last year where she read a couple horse books and desperately wanted to read more written from the horse's point of view. But... There just aren't that many out there. Most are (obviously) written about people and their horses just figure prominently. So when I saw Mattie Richardson's Horses in History Series from Author Mattie Richardson/Appaloosy Books, I knew it would be right up her alley!

The books arrived around lunchtime and she sat in one spot and read through all four by dinnertime (she's a remarkably fast reader but I'm pretty sure she was skimming some parts). She wasn't the only one who was interested, though - all four of my readers ended up reading at least one book, and the twins (Mary Claire and Elizabeth, who are almost 7) devoured Richardson's first book, Appaloosy, once they found out we'd be having a book club together, including oatmeal cookies (because horses eat oats, so that's appropriate, right?).

I love that Ms. Richardson started writing seriously when she was thirteen, and published her first book when she was only sixteen. My oldest is only ten, but it gives all the kids something to aspire to, even if they don't necessarily love writing just yet.

We sat down at the table to discuss Appaloosy, Ms. Richardson's first book. The girls decorated the table with the actual book, as well as all the horse figurines they could find in the toy bin. They pointed out which horses resembled horses from the book, and were very pleased with the tablescape they created! Then I started asking them questions...

Who can tell me about the book?

Elizabeth: Storm wanted Savannah as his mare. Storm, Savannah, and Runner got kidnapped.

Cecilia: I think they came back and the barn caught fire after they came back.

Elizabeth: No, before they came back.

And what happened with the fire?

Elizabeth: The milk cow died.

Oh no! And what happened with the horses?

Cecilia: They didn't die.

Elizabeth: Then when they got back it was the end of the book.

Cecilia: No it wasn't. The girl in the book got a baby sister and then a couple other things happened.

Who was your favorite character?

Cecilia: The girl in the book's baby sister.

Elizabeth: Mine was the same.

Who was your favorite horse character?

Elizabeth: Stardust. Stardust was Savannah and Storm's foal.

Cecilia: Me too.

Did you like the book?

Mary Claire: Yes!

Elizabeth: Yes!

Cecilia: Yes!

A mature synopsis? Perhaps not. So I'll give you a little more information!

We received all four books in the Horses in History Series, Appaloosy, Golden Sunrise, Dusty's Trail, and Day and Night. I really love adding relevant picture books and chapter books to expand on our history studies, so I think these will be perfect to pull back out when we loop back to American History next school year. Day and Night in particular has an enrichment guide available through Ms. Richardson's website, so one could do a pretty extensive Civil War study by using the book and the enrichment guide together. The questions would be helpful for leading discussions, and there are fun activities for kids as well!

The books are aimed at an 8-14 age range, but can work for younger and older children as well. Mine are fairly advanced readers, so my almost-7yo girls had no problem with any of the books. The language is fairly simple, and the text is generally fairly large-print so that younger readers can get through chapters easily without any fatigue.

In Appaloosy, Richardson's first book, pencil illustrations accompany Storm's journey during the Nez Perce War, as the Appaloosa stallion moves from a life with the young brave he bonded with to ultimately becoming a settled farm horse. This was my girls' favorite book!

Golden Sunrise centers around the Battle of the Alamo, as Cheyenne, a Palomino mare, travels with her owner to help him fight for Texan independence. More pencil illustrations (by Richardson's younger sister) accompany the text.

Dusty's Trail is about Levi Anderson, Dusty's owner, who gets a job on the Pony Express. When he's captured by Paiutes, Dusty and one of his horse friends travel to the Paiute camp, rescue Levi, and return safely. (John Paul, age 10, was eager to summarize this for me!)

In Day and Night, Tucker and Shiloh, two young brother horses, end up fighting on different sides. This book is full of action and stories both from the Union and Confederacy.

My children really enjoyed reading these books, and I know they'll continue to be re-read in our house!

Find out more about these books on Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter.

Read more reviews here or click below:

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


  1. Love the idea about oatmeal cookies with a Mattie Richardson book club. We'll have to tuck that away for when we're looking for something fun this winter!

    1. They wanted to eat grass and carrots, I thought oats could be make more palatable ;)

  2. Love the photos! So cute. :) I'm glad the girls liked the books. Thank you for taking the time to review them! ~Author Mattie Richardson


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