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The Children's Bookshelf: Ride On - August 8, 2022

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RIDE ON by writer and artist Faith Erin Hicks with colors by Kelly Fitzpatrick is an exceptionally beautiful graphic novel about horses and friendships.

The main character, twelve year old Victoria, is a Horse Girl as is her best friend Taylor. They have a falling out when Victoria tells Taylor she will no longer compete with her---she cannot continue to pay for lessons and clinics, and she certainly cannot ask her mother to buy her a horse! In fact, she says she is leaving Waverly stables and the competitions and going to Edgewood stables to quietly teach new horses how to be calm.

At first, Victoria does not find a calm atmosphere at Edgewood due to the very aggressive Norrie. However, Sam, the only fella riding at Edgewood, successfully begins a conversation with Victoria. He shares the news that a new season of Beyond the Galaxy is about to open. Victoria eventually discusses her love of this science fiction television show with Sam. “For those months all I could think about was how would first officer Josefina get back to the ship? Would she damage the past and destroy Captain Finn, like the space oracle had predicted?”

The Author’s Note gives readers a fine understanding of the world of Horse Girls as Faith Erin Hicks herself was one when she was a young girl. The strong feelings felt by riders who greatly love horses are wonderfully described in word, picture, and color!

RIDE ON written by Faith Erin Hicks with colors by Kelly Fitzpatrick is a graphic novel brimming over with a love for horses and the need for friends. Readers 10-14 years of age will enjoy this read (First Second/ an imprint of Roaring Brook Press, 2022.

The Children’s Bookshelf is a production of WCMU. Links to the podcast and Activity Questions can be found at Children’s Bookshelf dot org.

Activity Questions for RIDE ON

The picture on the cover of this book of Victoria and her horse is very effective. If you were to give this picture (not the book) a title, what would that title be? Why?

Why does Victoria decide to leave her best friend and the world of competition and go to another stable to train horses? Think about this question as it could have more than one answer.

Who is your favorite character in this story? Take a second look at the following characters: Norrie, Hazel, Sam, Victoria, and Taylor. Write a paragraph about your favorite character and discuss what your favorite character brings to the story.

The only fella that rides horses at Edgewood is Sam. His two brothers constantly make fun of him. It makes Sam very angry. In the end, what does Sam accomplish that makes his brothers stop harassing him?

How did the introduction of the science fiction television show, Beyond the Galaxy impact on the story, the art, the colors and you?

Sue Ann Martin is professor emerita of Communication and Dramatic Arts and the founding and past Dean of the College of Communication and Fine Arts at Central Michigan University, Mt. Pleasant, Michigan. She first became interested in children’s literature when she wrote her PhD thesis on the oral characteristics of the Caldecott Award-winning children’s books. Her PhD is in Speech and Interpretation with a cognate in Early Childhood Education. She went on to review children’s books for the Detroit Free Press, write three popular resource books for teachers regarding children’s books and the creative process. She also reviewed newly-published books for Arts Almanac specials on WCMU Public Radio. Her 2002 children’s books special for WCMU won a Merit Award in Special Interest Programming from the Michigan Association of Broadcasters.