Ten-year-old Miranda Stevens approaches the fifth-grade classroom with trepidation. She must face the same snobby classmates that she met when she came to Montana at the end of the last school year to attend this small rural school, and worst of all, Christopher Bergman, the classroom bully who takes special delight in making Miranda's life miserable. When she makes friends with Laurie Langley, a new girl in school, prospects look brighter—until she gets into a playground fight with Christopher and bloodies his nose. Chris says he won't tell on her if she'll ride one of the horses in the neighboring field. And that's when she sees, Starlight, the horse of her dreams, for the first time—and her troubles begin. Her attempt to mount Starlight fails painfully. Not to be defeated, she rides a gentler mare, which Starlight chases across the field. Mr. Taylor, the owner of Shady Hills ranch doesn't take kindly to having a kid ride one of his horses. He forbids her to set foot on his property again. Miranda plans to obey, but when Chris asks for her help with his thoroughbred mare, Queen, she agrees, only to find when she gets there that Queen lives at Mr. Taylor's stables. She goes in search of Starlight, finds him, accidentally lets him escape his paddock and become injured. She'll risk anything and everything, including Mr. Taylor's wrath, to save Starlight.
Friendship, loyalty, courage, and lesson's learned the hard way are all part of Miranda's story as she lives with her grandparents on their dairy farm. Her mother is in California seeking her fortune, and she doesn't know where her father is, or if he even exists. If only she had a horse of her very own, she thinks, nothing else would matter. ... Read more
Customer Reviews (10)
A Heartwarming Adventure for the Young Reader
"Miranda and Starlight" is the first in a series of six books featuring Miranda and Starlight. In this exciting adventure, for young readers, Janet Murihead Hill has captured something of the young reader's insecurity, fear, and pride. Miranda and Chris find it difficult to communicate openly with their parents.
Miranda desperately wants a horse.Chris needs to learn to ride his. Intricate plot twists bring them together in a complicated web of lies, and deceit. Through the events that unfold Miranda and Chris learn lessons in the importance of honesty, responsibility, courage, and trust.
Hill's writing is powerful and inspiring.Illustrations by Pat Lehmkuhl bring another important dimension to the story.Her pen and ink drawings are strong as they create and identify the settings and the characters in the story. She also has the amazing ability to depict the emotions the characters are feeling through facial expressions and body language.
This is a story for the young reader as well as an excellent read aloud story for delightful, cherished family nights at home.
Wonderful new horse series
MIRANDA AND STARLIGHT SERIES OF SIX BOOKS BY JANET MUIRHEAD HILL, ILLUSTRATED BY PAT LEHMKUHL is an absolutely delightful new horse book series.Written for upper elementary and young teens, the books will fascinate adults as well. I couldn't put them down!Ten year old Miranda, the orphaned product of a broken home, vanished father and wild mother, lives with her grandparents on their farm. She loves horses and dreams of owning one, but believes it could never be possible. The first book introduces the beautiful horse of her dreams and how she becomes attached to it through lying and mischief, for which she gets into trouble. Being the new girl in her classroom, she is shunned by the "in crowd" and develops a troubled friendship with the lonely Laurie, a mulatto who feels like a misfit, and Chris, the "fat boy" in the class. Their escapades and trials capture your mind and heart. Every young person will adore this series!
Three wishes revealed
Reviewed by April Sullivan for Reader Views (5/06)
"Miranda and Starlight" is the first book in a series of six called the Starlight Series that features a 10 year old girl and her horse. Miranda Stevens is a sweet, but feisty young girl who is living with her grandparents in Montana while her single mother in Los Angeles is trying to make it as an actress. Embarrassed by her untraditional upbringing, Miranda finds it hard to make friends. She is shunned by the "Magnificent Four" as she calls the close-knit pack of girls in her class. And she is constantly tormented by bully Chris Bergman.
If Miranda could have three wishes, they would be for a friend, a real family, and a horse of her very own. On the first day of fifth grade, at least one of those wishes comes true when she meets the new girl, Laurie Langley. She also meets the horse of her dreams that day when bully Chris dares her to ride a horse they see in the pasture next to the school. Miranda, gets in trouble, but falls in love with the black horse she names Starlight for the white star on his forelock.
This fast-paced adventure is great for young readers being introduced to chapter books. A few interspersed illustrations help young minds form an impression of the events being described. And the fact that this is a series leaves the reader wanting to know more and encourages them to pick up the next book.
This story brought back memories of myself as a young girl with a horse. The author accurately describes the responsibility and love needed to care for a horse. She not only portrays the fun of riding, but the hard work of cleaning stalls and grooming the horses.
I look forward to the rest of the series to find out how Miranda's relationship evolves not only with the horse, but all of the other people in her life. Since she has started to help Chris with riding lessons, they seem to be becoming friends. She learns the price she pays when lying to adults, especially her grandparents. And the most difficult relationship of all is with her mother, who wants her to come live with her in California, at the same time that Miranda is finally getting some of her wishes to come true in Montana.
Writers Notes 2004 Book Award Winner
This is more than a mere horse story. It is a journey of courage and consequences for younger juvenile readers. My own children will read this story.
Rebuttal to the reviewer in Massachusetts
From a reviewer's viewpoint, and as a person who enjoys reading, this is a wonderful story for young readers.
My opinion on this story is much different than the critic in Massachusetts gave. I felt drawn into the story and was impressed with the perspective shown. This is a story that shows what can happen when children lie and also how to tell the truth. I believe there are a lot more parents out there who are like the boy's parents than most would like to believe. Hopefully there are more out there who are like Miranda's Grandparents who show love and understanding when dealing with Miranda's situations. I enjoyed this book even though I'm an adult. I would reccommend this book to any child who can read. It may show them reading is fun when the story is fascinating like this one.
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