Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Book Review: A Filly for Laura by Ashley Hotter

A Filly for Laura
By Ashley Hotter
Publisher: Tate Publishing
Published: Jan. 28, 2014

Amazon Synopsis:

When Laura and her brother go to live with their foster parents on a farm in Montana, Laura never thought she would be happy. Then she meets Mae, the beautiful, chocolate-brown, pregnant mustang. As Laura learns to take care of Mae and helps to prepare for 
the new filly, she also learns that happiness is something she can feel again.

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My Thoughts:

Laura is an 8-year-old child whose parents have died. She and her brother Kayden are in foster care on a farm and the foster parents Jeriah and Courtney involve Laura in the care of the horses. Laura has been angry and withdrawn since the death of her mother.

A Filly for Laura is a lovely book that reaches into the heart of a hurting child through animals. Mae, the horse that Laura is given responsibility for was abandoned by its mother just as Laura was abandoned by her mother because of her death. The love and care that Laura lavishes upon the animal is returned by Mae and gradually Laura's heart softens and she comes out of her shell. Then comes the day everyone has been waiting for. Mae gives birth to her foal. Everyone is excited, but none more than Laura.

Jeriah surprises Laura by giving the filly to Laura for her own. Laura realizes that she is healing from her grief and that she can feel happy again.

I loved this book. It showed beautifully how children when faced with grief need to be given a reason to keep going. Laura's reason was that the horses needed to be fed and watered. Mae was pregnant and needed someone to care for her. If Laura was allowed to stay in the house as she wanted, and wallowed in her grief, it may have taken her a lot longer to emerge from her sorrow.

I also loved that the author used animals to breach the gap in Laura's heart. Animals can reach the hurting hearts of children so much better sometimes than adults, and all without words. Animals themselves seems to be a kind of therapy.

The pictures in this book were simple, clear and nicely coloured. Every other page was illustrated and without text. The opposing page contained the text and the background was a simple beige background with a tone-on-tone farm landscape with horses in the forground.

The readability was suitable for middle-grade students (age 9-12) but the book would be suitable for younger children if the book were read to them.

The themes in this book that could be brought up for discussion with children would include foster parenting and death of a parent. These topics can be difficult, but this book easily creates an opening for such a discussion

I thought A Filly for Laura was well-written. I gave it a rating of 5 stars out of 5.

Thank you to the author for providing a copy of the book in exchange for a fair and honest review. A positive opinion was not required. All thoughts are my own.

About the Author:

Ashley Hotter lives in Montana on a farm with her husband, Ricky, and two daughters, Jacey and Rosalie. On her farm she raises cattle, hogs, and goats. She has one cat, a Maine coon named Whisper, and four dogs: Bobo, a lab mix, Snuff a border collie, Prince, a long hair dachshund, and Khloe, a Jack Russell terrier. She also has three miniature horses, Scout, Candy, and Buttercup. Ashley is a member of The National Writers Association and the International Association of Aspiring Writers.

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