Moonlight riders: Storm stallion by Linda Chapman

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Linda Chapman is  an English author; a prolific writer with books published internationally. Her series including the well-known My secret unicorn books and the Stardust series can be found in most school libraries. Chapman loves to write animal stories that appeal to younger primary age students. Storm Stallion is part of the Moonlight Riders series. 

Books about horses have always attracted readership especially pre-teenage girls. The power and the muscularity of the horse, the one horse who can not be tamed by any other than the one special gir,l is a common trope that works time and again. There is something elemental about it. In Storm Stallion, the team of children at Moonlight Stables, all being matched to magical elemental horses, solve the problem of magical storms that have been damaging their stables. 

The viccissitudes of friendship at the pre-teen stage of life, the keeping of secrets, the intense falling-outs and reunions are all reflected in the Storm Stallion. The main character, Amara, has to keep secret the fact that she is a True Rider chosen by an elemental horse called Ember, from Kalini, a girl whose friendship she really desires. Keeping this magical secret creates misunderstandings when Kalini suspects that the Moonlight Stable riders are keeping things from her.

All is resolved when the Storm Stallion appears "... he became stronger and more muscular. his mane and tail turned to white wisps and his eyes were an ebony black. He reared up, shaking his mane proudly.' p. 123. Images of the beauty and  power of these horses and the ability of one young person to master and communicate with them are central to the enthralling attraction of these books.

The dialogue  between the young people is simple but authentic and reflects preteen concerns. Each character is 10 or 11 years old with riding and competing in mounted games competitions in common. The magic is in the connection to the elemental horses: earth, fire, water etc. Simple black and white illustrations are interspersed throughout the text.

Storm Stallion, part of the Moonlight Riders series is a readable text for those interested in the horse book genre.

Themes: Horses, Magic, Friendships.

Wendy Jeffrey