In the summer of 1957, the world seems topsy-turvy with the Communist threat, people digging bomb shelters, and Elvis being drafted. For fourteen-year-old, horse-crazy Winna Beckman, life has always been a tiptoe situation.
Her father is ill, and her family must move to an apple farm on California’s central coast. At their new home no one will know her, and Winna hopes things will change for the better. She makes a list of goals and aspirations: get a horse, make at least one friend, don’t flunk ninth grade, and keep Mama happy.
Winna’s overjoyed when Daddy buys Babyface and another mare, Snafu, who is expecting a foal. Horses are her only interest, until she meets Ben, the boy next door who owns a horse too. For the first time, Winna’s in love, and she worries her hope of attracting Ben will be sabotaged if her mother’s drinking problem is revealed.
Wanda Snow Porter grew up on a small farm roaming the hills and riding horses along the California Coast. Her love of animals, experience as a riding teacher and horse trainer, and her passion for history led her to write for young people. Her books are available at: http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=ntt_athr_...
The year is 1957. Some things about life in the 50’s were quite different than in today’s world. For instance, in the 50s, $1.00 bought you a movie ticket, popcorn and candy and you had money left over. But some things never change, no matter the time period. In today’s world, as in the past, some people had problems with drinking alcohol, destroying themselves as well as their families.
Author Wanda Snow Porter’s MG/Tween historical novel RIDING BABYFACE takes the reader back to the 50’s where Winna has just graduated from eighth grade. Not only will she attend high school next year, a new experience, her life is changing in other ways she could never have imagined. Her family moves to an apple farm on the California coast. Her daddy gets Winna and her sister, Veronica, a horse they name Babyface, to Winna’s delight since she wants to be a trainer some day. She has new neighbors, one of them a cute boy that she could really fall for, but her sister likes him too, and Veronica is a lot prettier than Winna. But the worst is yet to come.
The author gets the characters just right for the time period, their way of talking, the words they use, and even the way they dress. Even though Winna lives in the 50s, she faces the same challenges teens do today, and it will take all of her courage and strength to hold her family together when the unthinkable happens. RIDING BABYFACE will have you laughing; the story will have you crying. You’ll find yourself offering encouragment to Winna, in her darkest moments. At least this reader did.
RIDING BABYFACE would make a great addition to middle school libraries and classrooms, especially history classes. Your public library and your own private library need copies too. Ms. Porter’s novel should appeal to lovers of recent history and to readers that enjoy a good story. ###
This is a beautifully written story that works on a number of levels. It is a YA (young adult) work. It is a coming of age story as well as the story of a girl and her rather clever horse named Babyface. It is also the story of many of us in the California of the latter 1950's, a place filled with beauty and the promise of a golden future. The prose reminds me of Steinbeck's Travel's with Charlie in the sense that it is clean and honest and understanding of the human condition. If you are OK with the fact that there are no killer robots, just genuine people making their way in what seems a simpler time, you cannot help but be charmed by this work. You are going to want your own Babyface.