12 November 2019

Author Mattie Richardson/Appaloosy Book Review

My daughter loves horses and gets pretty excited about anything that has to do with horses. When a review came available for Mattie Richardson's Horses in History Series from Author Mattie Richardson/Appaloosy I didn’t have to think twice about it.

I received autographed signed physical copies of Mattie Richardson's Horses in History Series books: Appaloosy, Dusty's Trail, Golden Sunrise, and Day and Night. I also received a PDF of Day and Night Enrichment Guide for the Day and Night book. I’m just amazed that she wrote the first one at the age of thirteen!

All the books are told from the horse’s perspective and are about the horses and their people. The books are rich in American History and well researched to bring history alive in a unique way. The intended age is 8-14. The books can be read in any order.  Each book stands alone as they all cover a different era of history straight from the horse’s mouth.

Another nice feature is that all the books have a glossary of some of the vocabulary used during the era. At the back of the book is a section called, “Blast from the Past” this gives you the historical background of the event that you’re just read about. There are a lot of facts and explains some events that she may have altered to fit the story or the information on characters and on the horse breed. All the books have a few black and white drawings also.

Dusty's Trail:

We read this book first as my daughter wanted to learn more about the Pony Express.

Dusty and his boy Levi Anderson have a good life on the family ranch. They love to horse race in town, chase cows, and just horse around. Dusty loved his life and couldn’t image a better life with his boy. Levi is the man of the house since his father died and is needed to take care of the homestead.

Levi is yearning for adventure and he sees an opportunity when he reads an ad for the Pony Express in the newspaper. The job would help his family a lot but his mother isn’t having none of it and tells him no. Dusty doesn’t think Levi riding for the Pony Express is a good idea either. Levi sneaks off and heads off early in the wee hours to apply for the job much to Dusty’s dismay.

Levi and Dusty have lots of challenges ahead. Dusty tends to spook easily with loud sounds and can rear up and buck. The fear brings him a bit of ridicule from the other horses and people especially after he runs off when Indians attack him and his boy. He left his boy alone.  With the help of Ace and some flour Dusty rescues Levi.

My daughter was really excited that Nevada found a forever home with Dusty and Levi.

Day and Night:

Two young brothers Shiloh and Tucker have a great life on their farm with their mother. That is all about to change for them. The horses are each unique and as different as day and night in looks and personally. They find themselves sold, stolen, and passing unto different owners. Tucker finds himself serving as a war horse for the Union troops and Shiloh with the Confederate army.

The horses see and experience the Civil War and the consequences of war among the humans and the other horses. You see the view point of both sides fighting for their freedom and rights. Will the brothers ever see each other again and will they and their humans survive the battles.

The battles are dramatic and they see the results of battle at the Battle of Shiloh. The death toll is high for humans and horses alike.

This story has a sweet story weaved within with two of the human characters Ben and Sarah. Both of them are fighting on different sides but see that war is not what it seems and the cost is even higher.

My daughter Said, “I loved how Tucker went out of his way to get Ben’s attention to help his friend Catori.She loved the bravery of Sarah. Ben was a compassionate man who loved the horses and took good care of them.

I loved this story and was amazed at how much emotions I had for the horses, Sarah, and Ben. This book was my personal favorite.

Golden Sunrise

Cheyenne a Golden Palomino with a secret Spanish name of Aurelia that only Jared her owner called her when no one was around. They are living a good life in Northern Texas in the early 1800s but there is talk of war on the horizon.

Jared becomes a volunteer soldier to help in the independence of Texas from Mexico. They end up in San Antonio de Bexar at the Fort Alamo to try and hold the Mexican Army of Santa Anna.

Cheyenne is a unique horse that can do tricks and even untie the ropes when she is tied to a hitching post. She doesn’t want to escape usually she just wants to hear what is going on and to make sure Jared is okay. They have a unique bond with one another.

After a fearless stand at the Alamo from the brave men like Jared, Davy Crockett, James Bowie and other soldiers it looks like all is lost. It sends out a battle cry to the other Texans “For the Alamo!”

Cheyenne is hard headed and smart as she helps out Jared and the other horses like her friend Rebel.

My daughter said, “This story made me cry and when Cheyenne was lying in the stable with no hope and not wanting to eat. The lost was great for so many” I was so glad that Austin showed up to claim Cheyenne.” “I loved how the men used the lost of the Alamo as a banner of courage to Remember the Alamo.”


This time we meet Storm a brown Appaloosa that is part of the Nez Perce tribe in 1877.  Storm is a free horse or so he thought until is father told him he was a range colt. One day he was rounded up and becomes a horse for White Feather and slowly a friendship is formed with this young warrior.

After war breaks out with the white man and the Indians are marched to the reservation Storm finds himself between owners and eventually he comes to a young girl named Faith. Over time she is the only one who can ride this feisty horse. Storm will find himself bonding with a kind family and the other horses on their farm.

The family experiences a barn fire and horse kidnappers. Storm finds his freedom out in the wild eventually and has a choice to remain free or find his way home to Faith.

Day and Night Enrichment Guide for the Day and Night book:

The enrichment guide comes as a 98 page PDF. It is dividing into 8 parts with the reading assignments laid out and other enrichment activities. The idea and recommended time is around 8 to 12 weeks.

Some of the activities include:

Reading Comprehension-this has several comprehensive questions on the Day and Night book along with some history questions.

You can have your student write on this section by answering the questions or do it orally with open discussion. This section is great to adapt for all ages.

Vocabulary- This section will go over some of the harder vocabulary used in the book.

 The Vocabulary is a fill in the blank questions that has a word bank at the top of the paper.

The History-A behind the scene look about the history pertaining to the story. You will find out the history about the era, events, people, and even the places mentioned in the story. 

There are lots of biographies in this section. 

A Soldiers Life-This section is an intriguing look at the daily life of the soldiers in the Civil War. It goes into several facets like uniform, hardtack, bugle calls, Civil War arms, and other interesting things that affected the soldiers.

Depending on the age they can read the information themselves or you could do this as a read out loud.  

The Living History Segment (Craft & Game)- A hands on approach to learn more about the story. The instructions are clear and very reasonable activities to add into a busy schedule.

Learn how to make Johnny Cakes, reenact a scene from the Civil War, hard tack recipe, and make your own butter, and other hands on activities.

Geography-this section will help you understand the geography from the story. Glimpse into the landscape and some extra to link to videos

You can look at several maps to see the layout of the land, facts about the states and cities, rivers, sectionalism, and much more to explore.

Horses and History-this section is for those who are crazy about horses and this section can be skipped.

There are several pictures to color, word searches and other activities throughout.  

 There is also an Answer Key for the enrichment guide for Day and Night Enrichment Guide.pdf

This is a comprehensive answer key to help check the questions quickly.

How did I use Mattie Richardson's Horses in History Series from Author Mattie Richardson/Appaloosy in my Homeschool?

My daughter has learning challenges and reading is one of her more severe challenges. We took turns reading the books out loud with Dusty’s Trail at first and she begged me to read the books to her in school and after school. She was delighted that we got through all the books except for Appaloosy. I can’t believe I read three books with her in a short time span. That is how much she loved the books.  I was able to read ahead in all the books myself fairly quickly within a few weeks. 

We didn’t do the Day and Night Enrichment Guide but I was able to spend some time looking over it. This is a well done enrichment guide with a variety of topics to make the Day and Night book a complete unit study.

The books are rich in history, a lot of research and care was taken to put these stories together. The characters both people and horses have a lot of depth to them. I love that they are complex and very realistic. The horses as my daughter put it, “are like people.” I love that the books and the characters are all unique in each story. Sometimes when you read several books by the same author the characters and plot have the same feel to them. These didn’t have that same feel. You can’t help but to have some strong emotions for the people and horses throughout the story. I loved the stories just as much as my daughter did.

Who these books may not be for are those who can’t handle stories around battles. The battles have people getting gunshot wounds, and other bloody wounds from battle. Don’t worry nothing is gory or overdone. I think they are done very tactful and tasteful. It has enough to give you a glimpse into the reality of the history. I was personally okay with all of this. There is also a guy giving his fiancĂ©e a kiss, but that is all it says. You also have references about drinking and taverns. None of this is told in detail just a slight sentence or two. I just wanted to mention this just in case you have sensitive kids or prefer not to expose you kids to these scenarios.

We loved these books and can’t wait to see what other books Mattie Richardson's Horses in History Series in the future. The stories are pretty amazing.

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Other members of the Homeschool Review Crew have been reading Mattie Richardson's Horses in History Series from Author Mattie Richardson/Appaloosy. You can read more reviews by clicking on the graphic below.



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