Review of Gib and the Gray Ghost by Zilpha Keatley Snyder

Gib and the Gray Ghost

Companion to Gib Rides Home
By Zilpha Keatley Snyder

Star Rating: 
Genre: Young People/Young Adult Western
Number of Pages: 240Date Started: June 26, 2017
Date Finished: June 28, 2017

Synopsis: (From Amazon)Gib and the gray ghost
Gib Whittaker is leaving the Lovell House Orphanage for the second time in his young life. He’s going back to live with the Thornton family, who are free to take him in again now that Mr. Thornton has died. Life has changed on the old ranch, and Gib can go to school. But he’s still doing all the chores in the barn and stable. He’s not exactly farmed-out labor anymore, but will he be adopted for real this time?

Luckily Gib has his beloved horses to care for, especially the beautiful thoroughbred, Black Silk. Then one day a strange horse gallops in out of a snowstorm, a handsome dapple-gray who has been severely whipped and starved. He’s frightened and dangerous. Gib knows he must find some way to save this magnificent horse — and in the attempt, he finds one place where he will always belong.

Review:
If you have or know of a young reader who loves horses, this book was definitely geared towards them. Gib faces some difficult challenges in this book, both with horses and with finding his own place in the world.There were some points where I thought the author should have spent a bit more time explaining horse terms, since I doubt the target audience will be switching to a dictionary to figure it out. Despite that, I quite enjoyed all the horses, and the talk of various bits and how to get them to behave. When Gib was giving Livy riding lessons, it would have been nice to have more context about what he told her to do.

All in all I quite enjoyed the story. It was a nice read without too many big words, something that I would recommend for elementary school kids, or preteens/teens that maybe aren’t into reading, but are into horses.

Author Biography: (From Wikipedia)
Zilpha Keatley Snyder was an American author of books for children and young adults. Three of Snyder’s works were named Newbery Honor books: The Egypt Game, The Headless Cupid and The Witches of Worm.

Review of Jinx by Sage Blackwood

Jinx
By Sage Blackwood

Star Rating: 
Genre: High Fantasy/Young People/Young Adult/Children

Number of Pages: 384

Date Started: June 22, 2016
Date Finished: June 23, 2016

Synopsis: (From Amazon)jinxThe highly acclaimed first book of a fantasy adventure series set in a mysterious forest, starring a daring new hero.

“Readers will thrill to journey with Jinx” (SLJ, starred review), a wizard’s apprentice, as he sets off on a quest through the dangerous Urwald, a magical forest full of wizards and were-creatures, and discovers that it is more complex than he could imagine, and that it needs him more than he could ever guess.

This humorous and smart tween fantasy adventure is perfect for fans of Septimus Heap, The Sisters Grimm, and Fablehaven.

Supports the Common Core State Standards

Review:
This story is magical.  I am so glad that this book is the first in a series because as I got further and further along I was really worried that I wouldn’t get to continue on and learn more about Jinx’s life.  The Urwald is perfect.  Simon is the perfect differentiation from Jinx’s stepparents.  Jinx is refreshing and unique without shoving anything in your face.  The characters are gripping, the plot is intriguing, and I found myself less and less willing to set the book aside.  I definitely think this book is along the lines of Howl’s Moving Castle but this book has such unique qualities that it’s hard to compare it to anything.  The magic seen is new, refreshing, and interesting.  Everything you thought you might have known about magic and magical creatures might be right, or it might be turned on its head, depending on the person.  There are great morals, and it’s overall an amazing book.

Author Information: (From Amazon)
Sage Blackwood was born in Chicago and grew up in New York State. She graduated from Antioch College and the University at Albany, and taught ESL for many years. Her first fantasy novel, JINX, was selected as a Best Book of 2013 by Kirkus, Booklist, School Library Journal, and Amazon.