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The Girl Who Loved Wild Horses

Last updated Monday, January 24, 2005

Author: Paul Goble
Illustrator: Paul Goble
Date of Publication: 2001
ISBN: 0689845049
Grade Level: 3rd    (GLCs: Click here for grade level guidelines.)
Date(s) Used: Feb. 2005

Synopsis: "There was a girl in the village who loved horses... She led the horses to drink at the river. She spoke softly and they followed. People noticed that she understood horses in a special way."
And so begins the story of a young Native American girl devoted to the care of her tribe's horses. With simple text and brilliant illustrations, Paul Goble tells how she eventually becomes one of them to forever run free.

Discussion topics for before reading:
•  How can you communicate without talking? (Nodding, waving...)
•  What do you know about Native Americans?
•  Have you ever had dinner at a friend's house? How was that different from life at your house?
•  Looking at the book, what do you think it is about? Who are the characters? What do you think will happen?
•  During the book, ask what their predictions are for how the girl will get home when they are lost.

Discussion topics for during/after reading:
•  How is the girl going to live with the horses like staying at a friend?s house? How is it different?
•  What is your favorite animal? What do you like about them?
•  How do you communicate with pets? How do you know when they are hungry, etc?
•  Why did the girl become ill when she returned home? What would have told her if she had asked you what to do?
•  Do you think the horse at the end of the story was the girl? Why or why not?

Craft ideas:
•  Drawing upon the Native American patterns in the blankets, make your own pattern on a small square of paper. Make enough of the same patterned square to share one with each member of the rest of the group. When everyone has traded, link the pieces of paper to make a quilt.
•  Draw what you think the girl looked like when she became a wild horse, or what you would look like if you became a wild horse.
•  Make a manual to communicate with your favorite animal. Use pictures - what does this gesture mean, etc?

Special activities:
•  Sing the song at the end of the book.

*Note: These craft ideas are just suggestions. You can use them, but you don’t have to use them. You can expand upon them, or add your own twist. Remember, though, that the focus of your time should not be on the development and execution of a craft; the focus should be on the read-aloud and the enjoyment of the book!