Saturday, April 13, 2019

WILD HORSE ANNIE: Friend of the Mustangs by Tracey Fern.  Illus. by Steven Salerno. New York: Farrar Straus Giroux, 2019. 48p.  ISBN 978-0374303068 hc. $17.99   Gr. 1-4    E PIC

Consider this a visual version of WILD HORSE ANNIE AND THE LAST OF THE MUSTANGS: THE LIFE OF VELMA JOHNSTON by David Cruise (2010).  Salerno's illustrations bring the story to life with textured backgrounds and outlined figures that pop off the page.  Horse lovers will appreciate the many mustangs portrayed with accuracy and beauty.  Horse lover, Velma Bronn Johnston, interacted with mustangs as a child, but was interrupted in her eleventh year when she caught polio.  The disease left her with a bent spine and constant aches, but Velma never faltered in her love for horses.  One day she witnessed the cruel capture of mustangs which were then sold to the slaughterhouse for profit, and decided to take action to protect the horses.  She attended town meetings, spoke to the Nevada Senate, and wrote letters to government lawmakers.  She soon earned the nickname "Wild Horse Annie" and engaged the help of school children to join her in writing letters to the lawmakers in Washington D.C.  After Velma's twenty-year campaign, the U.S. Congress passed a federal law to protect wild horses on public lands in 1971. 
Lynette Suckow, Superiorland Preview Center, Marquette, MI

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