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Roaming across the beautifully illustrated American West, a mustang mare named Medicine Hat leads a herd of wild horses on an adventurous journey toward freedom.
This book is dedicated to the spirit of the American mustang, inspired by the Black Hills Wild Horse Sanctuary in Hot Springs, South Dakota. Every page of this large picture book is filled with breathtaking paintings of the scenery and horses of the West. The main character is a mare, a Medicine Hat mustang (named for their markings), and this book tells of her life in the wild with her herd. They undergo many trials–including an attack by cougars and attempts by men to round them up. Gregory Manchess is an award-winning painter who has worked on projects for Time and the National Geographic Society. This is his fifth children's book. If you love horses even a tiny bit, the stunning paintings of the horses running wild and free in their hills will stir and inspire you. The artist is especially good at depicting movement and speed. This book will make a perfect gift for readers who love wildlife, history, the West, and of course, horses. Armchair Interviews says: The story will appeal to all ages, and the illustrations of running horses are incredible.
–Kathy Perschmann, Armchair Interviews , April 2007
A wild mustang tries to protect her herd of seven mares, four foals, a a stallion from the dangers of wild animals and the appearance of wranglers as the animals drink and play at the Cheyenne River. Outriders hinder their flight after the stallion's capture, but the mare is able to lead a few of the animals to a canyon pass and eventually to safety after fighting off a cougar's attack. Dramatic paintings bring the lengthy text alive, with full-page oils opposite long stretches of text and double-page spreads of one to three paintings interspersed. Manchess captures the strength, energy, beauty, fright, and eventual return to freedom of these horses. Animals and setting are brought to life through words and paintings; the reader cannot help but admire both. An author's note explains the history of the mustangs and wranglers and the 1970s passage of a law protecting these herds.
–Peg Glisson, Children's Literature
Rare is the child who hasn't dreamed of owning a horse, and unfortunate the child who hasn't experienced Walter Farley's Black Stallion series and lived with thoroughbreds vicariously. Wild horses in the American West are paid tribute to in Cheyenne Medicine Hat, which is divided between glorious paintings by Gregory Manchess and a powerful text by Brian Heinz. It focuses on the Medicine Hat mustangs who struggle to survive against wild predators and the wranglers who seek to take them from their natural habitat. These illustrations are so beautiful they will bring "oohs" and "aahs" from readers. They capture the energy and spirit of wild horses with artistic integrity. The text is eloquent, the story it tells is spellbinding. It is not a picture book in the ordinary sense; it is so sophisticated that it will be examined appreciatively by middle-graders, and even coveted by many adults who love fine art and tales of courage. It tells a story that is both sad and encouraging. In this book, if not in real life, the horses manage to evade attacks from all sides. And at the book's end, they still rule their habitat.
–Lois Henderlong, The Herald Press , February 2007
With flowery prose, Heinz tells the story of a group of mustangs led by the mare Medicine Hat, who keeps the herd from being captured by humans and injured by a cougar. In a final sentimental touch, she meets a beautiful wild stallion. The story is overwritten, and the oil paintings are more standalone art than illustration. Rating: 5: Marginal, seriously flawed, but with some redeeming quality.
–Horn Book Guide , Spring 2007
Written by Brian Heinz and illustrated by Gregory Manchess, Cheyenne Medicine Hat is the story of a mare leading a herd of wild horses amid the rocky lands and the prairie of the American West. Named Medicine Hat for her markings that Sioux warriors believed were sacred protective shields in battle, she must help her fellow mustangs survive the search for food and water, attacks from predators such as cougars, and perhaps most threatening of all, the advance of horse wranglers. The utterly stunning, full-color illustrations distinguish this powerful and emotional picture book story, featuring text involved enough to be ideal for young readers who are almost ready to move on to chapter books.
–Midwest Book Review , October 2006
This story leads readers through a summer in the life of a Medicine Hat mustang that runs wild with her herd through the Cheyenne River plains. The large-sized book is composed of full-page oils opposite long sections of text and interspersed with double-page paintings. The illustrations do a terrific job of bringing life to the horses and the setting. One of the strongest pictures shows [wranglers] trying to trap the herd's lone stallion, which is rearing in fright, set against a bright red background. Even the endpaper sketches deliver a sense of movement and energy. The poetic take gives a glimpse into the hardships and freedoms the mare faces. She must stay alert to protect her band from humans and wild animals. Heinz has enriched the narrative with the vocabulary of the prairie, making readers truly a part of the animal's survival.
–School Library Journal , November 2006