________________ CM . . . . Volume XVII Number 6. . . .October 8, 2010


Gunner: Hurricane Horse. (True Horse Stories).

Judy Andrekson. Illustrated by David Parkins.
Toronto, ON: Tundra Books, 2010.
95 pp., pbk., $8.99.
ISBN 978-0-88776-905-4.

Subject Headings:
Gunner (Horse)-Juvenile literature.
Show Horses-United States-Biography-Juvenile literature.
American paint horse-United States-Biography-Juvenile literature.
Hurricane Katrina, 2005-Anecdotes-Juvenile literature.

Grades 2-5 / Ages 7-10.

Review by Tanya Boudreau.

*** /4



Often, when the colt was in his paddock and Heather was in her chair on the porch, the young horse would come to the fence, sniff the air, and just stand and watch her with that one blue eye.

One day, annoyed, she stomped a foot at him and shouted, "What are you looking at?"

Startled, he leaped back from the fence a few feet, then came right back with a deep whinny, as though answering her challenge.

She waved a hand at him."Scat!"

He circled and returned to the fence, shaking his head, striking with his front hooves, and whinnying again. It was the first "conversation" they had, the first of many to follow in the weeks to come. It became a game that kept them both amused and occupied during long hours of confinement- and the beginning of a very special relationship.


internal artDespite periods of scruffiness and mischievousness (like rolling over chickens) Gunner the American Paint Horse becomes a prize winner, a hero, and a survivor. With friends like Heather and her husband, E.W., caring for him and Mike training him, Gunner wins several shows in the United States, including the All Round title in 2004 in Texas. But before Gunner can compete at the World Paint Show, Hurricane Katrina hits land. Heather and her family lose their farm in Mississippi, and Gunner disappears. When Gunner is found three months later and many miles away from home, the veterinarians think it would be best to end his suffering. He is blind, injured, and weak. Heather sees signs of hope in his behavior though and refuses to give up on him. Gunner's recovery is slow and hard to endure at times, but he grows strong enough to prove his competing days are not over.

      Gunner: Hurricane Horse is an emotional true story which educates readers about horses and reminds readers to be resilient during periods of hardship. Telling black and white illustrations decorate chapter headings, and a striking cover complements this well researched story. This newest book in the "True Horse Stories" series is a quick read and contains more humor than the first five books in the series. I wouldn't hesitate to recommend this book to a girl or a boy who is looking for the latest book about horses.

     Judy Andrekson has always combined her love of writing with her love of horses. She lives in Sherwood Park, AB. David Parkins has illustrated over fifty children's books and the cartoon Beano. He lives in Kingston, ON.


Tanya Boudreau is a librarian at the Cold Lake Public Library in Cold Lake, AB.

To comment on this title or this review, send mail to cm@umanitoba.ca.

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