Twelve-year old Lidie is about to leave her beloved horse and everything she knows in Brazil to go to New York to join her father and older brother. It's been years since they were together and they really don't know each other anymore. Lidie is having to adjust to a new school, a new language and her family who thinks of her as a little girl in pink overalls. She wants them to know her as the brave, bold rider she is.
At the same time a filly is born. She's a timid horse. Eventually the filly is bought by the man who has hired Lidie's father and brother. Horse and girl will find themselves in strange new situations and their paths will become one.
When Lidie was seven, her mother passed away. Shortly afterwards, her father and older brother Rafael left Brazil for the United States. Since that time, she has lived with an aunt and uncle. Now Lidie is twelve, and it is time for her to join Pai and Rafael. They are working for a wealthy man--her father as a race horse trainer, her brother as a jockey-in-training--and they now own a house. Lidie is reluctant to leave the wonderful farm where she grew up, her school, and especially the beautiful horse, Cavalo, that she loves to ride and has become a special friend. Yet she is also looking forward to her new life in America.
A filly is born. As she grows, she becomes wary of humans and frightened of cats. When the timid young horse is acquired by Pai's employer and assigned to the trainer, he dubs her Wild Girl.
Meanwhile, Lidie has arrived at her new home. Not only does she hardly recognize her father and brother, they seem to believe she is the same little girl they left in Brazil five years before. Lidie finds her bedroom has been decorated with Disney characters, and they are considering buying her snow boots with bunny rabbit designs! On top of that, Pai and Rafael have no idea that she is a skilled rider. And, to make matters worse, school, instead of being the enjoyable challenge it was in Brazil, is a difficult adjustment.
Lidie wonders if she will ever adapt to her new home--and if Pai and Rafael will see her as the almost-teenager she is and not the little girl they left five years before. The alternating stories of Lidie and the filly
are told with warmth and sensitivity. In the capable hands of Patricia Reilly Giff, this is a novel that will attract not only horse lovers but anyone who appreciates a good story about belonging, family, and finding one's place.
Powerful. 160 pages. Ages 9-12
Recommended by Basya Karp, Librarian, New York, USA