Sarah's Stars

Joanna Campbell. Wonder’s First Race
HarperCollins  $6.99  ISBN-0-06-106082-8  185 pg.
Reviewed by Michelle, Age 11

Ashleigh could see a look of grim satisfaction on Brad’s face.  Then Wonder stumbled.  Her front legs seemed to fold under her.  Valiantly, she caught herself and got three legs under her, but Brad was nearly thrown from the saddle.  He caught himself, grabbing Wonder’s mane.  Ashleigh felt the blood drain from her face.  The filly dropped back into a stumbling trot, then a walk.  Ashleigh gasped as Wonder limped forward.  She couldn’t put any weight on her right foreleg.

Wonder’s First Race is about a small filly that is a racehorse and races against stronger, bigger colts.  She was a small, sick foal and nobody thought much of Wonder, the filly.  That is, nobody except Ashleigh, a young girl, and Charlie, a retired trainer.

The farm owner’s son, Brad, decides to take Wonder out on the track one winter day.  Brad pushes the filly too hard and Wonder stumbles.  Charlie and Ashleigh are furious!  Ashleigh is also angry with Brad because his colt, Townsend Prince, the star of the stables, is strong and fit and Wonder is hurt and injured.  When Wonder is ready to get back on the track, she races once before meeting Townsend Prince.  The first race is the Triple Crown, the second, the Kentucky Derby.  Will Wonder prove she is just as willing as the other colts and win the Kentucky Derby?

I think this was an exciting book about horse racing.  I really liked how exciting the plot was and how the characters were related and acted with each other.  A picture was easily formed in my mind and I never really wanted to put the book down, especially at the end.  I think this is a good book for 9, 10 and 11 year olds.  It is great for kids who love animals, especially horses.

I would give Wonder’s First Race 4 and a half exciting stars. An easy read for an 11 year old.

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