Bea and the New Deal Horse

Written by Laura Elliott

This book is good on so many levels! It’s a look at life in Depression-Era America, it’s a wonderful human-interest story, and it provides insight into horse and rider training.

One night, after a year of moving from place to place, sleeping in barns, scrounging for food, and hoping he can find work, Bea’s father abandons her and her little sister. He leaves them in a barn on the property of a woman their deceased mother knew in her youth.

The farm is owned by Mrs. Scott, the mother of his wife’s friend. She is now estranged from her daughter and in dire financial straits. Mrs. Scott agrees to allow the girls to stay, temporarily, in exchange for their help around the farm, although her impoverished state threatens the longevity of their stay.

Bea’s mother was an experienced rider and trainer. Bea has inherited her mother’s gift for understanding and bonding with horses. This ability becomes a catalyst for healing for both the girls and Mrs. Scott. Horses play a big part in this story, as does the importance of relationships, kindness, resilience, and courage.

This would be a good read-aloud book for older elementary students. Any student with an interest in horses will be thrilled with this book! The afterword includes a brief history explaining the reason for the Depression and the social conditions existing during the time. It could make an excellent introduction to the story.

Reviewed by Cheryl Calkins, Librarian, Pioneer Elementary
Review shared in March 2024
Rating: ★★★★★ (5 stars)
Interest Level: Older Elementary

Bea and the New Deal Horse
Written by Laura Elliott
Katherine Tegen Books, an imprint of HarperCollins Publishers
375 pages
Release Date: March 28, 2023
ISBN: 9780063219007
A review copy was provided by the publisher.

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