Review Blog

Apr 20 2014

Saddle Club series by Bonnie Bryant

cover image

Random House, 2013.
Horse Crazy & Horse Shy ISBN 9780857980632.
Horse Sense & Horse Power ISBN 9780857980649.
Trail Mates & Dude Ranch ISBN 9780857980656.
Horse Play & Horse Show ISBN 9780857980663.
Horse Wise & Rodeo Rider ISBN 9780857981042.
Hoof Beat & Riding Camp ISBN 9780857981059.
Starlight Christmas & Seahorse ISBN 9780857981066.
Team Play & Horse Games ISBN 9780857981073.
As the name of this series suggests, The Saddle Club centres on a love of horses. Three friends, Stevie, Carole and Lisa, formed the club at Pine Hollow Stables, Virginia, and from there has grown a whole empire of books, a television series, a website and merchandise that has endured since Bonnie Bryant first wrote the original series in 1988- 2001.
There is something that connects horses and girls of about 10-13, whether they live in the city or the country, so that having a series of books which focuses on that combination was a winner. Certainly in my school library at the time, new releases were eagerly awaited, reserve lists were long and older titles read and re-read each year. This new collection from Random House with two stories in each book provides the opportunity to introduce a new generation of girls to the club. In smart new livery, there are eight in the collection providing a chance to renew those tatty titles that have been literally loved to death. At the end of this month, there will also be a re-release of single titles in ebook format so all preferences can be catered for.
Because of the popularity of the series in print, the impending release of the ebook titles, the television episodes available on YouTube or on DVD , the website with games, merchandise and so forth this would be an ideal vehicle to introduce senior primary students to the power of multi-faceted marketing as well as having them compare the stories as they are interpreted by different formats. (ACELY1713)
Even though the series originated as an idea of an editor of a publishing house (Bantam Books) and Bryant was more equestrian expert than novelist, there is a quality to the stories that has enabled them to endure over 25+ years and be adapted and renewed so often. I believe that these new releases will spawn a whole new generation of fans and if you ask your students to ask their parents what they read, this series will get more than one mention.
Barbara Braxton

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