WILD AT HEART, MUSTANGS AND THE YOUNG PEOPLE FIGHTING TO SAVE THEM
Readers who come to Bookin’ with Sunny, those in the SF Bay Area and those in the high desert of northern Nevada, are already familiar with author Terri Farley’s love affair with the wild horses known as mustangs. Her Phantom Stallion series for middle and young adult readers has been popular since first published in 2002. And for good reason – these are not teen romances under the guise of horse stories as are many other horse series. Farley writes not about the heart, but from the heart, understanding the connection between young people and horses. Her latest book, Wild at Heart, should be in the hands of every horse lover, young or old.
What makes Wild so worth buying and reading is the depth of Farley’s coverage exposing the plight of America’s mustangs. Her book is wonderfully put together. It begins with her most personal introduction to the wild horses’ fight for their right to exist on public lands, followed by Chapter One, an homage to Wild Horse Annie, the subject of Marguerite Henry’s 1966 novel about Velma Johnston, the one-woman powerhouse who brought about the Wild Free-Roaming Horses and Burros Act, passed by Congress in 1971.
Chapters Two through Five are the author’s effort to approach her subject’s historic, scientific, behavioral and political background, covering such questions as: Are present-day mustangs merely interlopers and not native to our continent? Do they really decimate the grasslands that should rightly only be grazed by cattle? (The facts contained in this chapter will blow some minds.) Within these chapters are inserts, called “Eyewitness” – short and personal insights from the author’s experience (and one from Pulitzer Prize winning photographer, Melissa Farlow, whose work enhances the beauty of Wild). These inserts, as stand alone presentations, break into the fact-based content just long enough to keep the reader’s interest heightened. Other inserts deal with the difficult subject of slaughterhouses and the BLM (Bureau of Land Management) roundups. Photographer Melissa Farlow’s heart is never far from her subjects and pay special attention to what she allows us to see in the eyes of the horses she photographs.
Terri Farley’s Wild at Heart is a passionate book, but her’s is a passion reached through years of research, observation, and careful thought. As tough as her subject is, like Wild
Horse Annie, she turns, in the last section of the book, to children as messengers. She introduces us to children who have rescued mustangs, trained them, and even a young boy who has gone to the halls of Congress to advocate for them.
Continue to read Farley’s fictional horse stories, but don’t miss this very special book. It will not only touch your heart, but engage your mind, and whether it is you or a family member who loves horses, the next time the subject of what should happen to our public lands and the wild animals that live there comes up, reach for Wild at Heart, Mustangs and the Young People Fighting to Save Them. Between Farley’s text and Farlow’s photography the answers are there. – Sunny Solomon
Also available by Terri Farley: Phantom Stallion Series (24 books); Seven Tears into the Sea; Wild Horse Island Series (11 books); Phantom The Protector.