3 out of 4 stars
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Muley: The Mule That Thought He Was A Racehorse by Monty Marks is a young adult book that will keep readers entertained with adventure, fantasy, and essential life lessons.
Kelly looked forward to spending the summer at her grandfather’s farm in Pennington Gap, VA. When her parents decided to move to the farm to help Grandpa, it was like a dream come true. She made friends with Sally, and they spent hours studying, giggling, and planning their future as veterinarians.
When Muley was born, Grandpa put Kelly in charge of the new mule. Muley loved to watch the races at the county fairgrounds. His heart fluttered when Ruthy May won her race against Big Red. Muley, the mule, dreamed of becoming a racehorse. He devised a personalized exercise program and trained rigorously. Could Kelly convince him that mules were not racehorses? Kelly discovered that Muley had a unique capability. How long would she be able to keep Muley’s amazing new skill a secret?
Muley’s story is creative, touching, and entertaining. The author kept the number of characters to a minimum and dedicated time to developing Kelly and Muley, the two main characters in the story. Readers form an emotional bond with Kelly as she experienced tragedy in her family and learned to prioritize her pet mule’s needs. Kelly’s beautiful friendship with Sally motivates readers to show patience and kindness to others. The girls shared their joys and sorrows and even prayed together. Muley matured as he had opportunities to pull the Christmas sleigh for the Sunday school class and disciplined himself to train faithfully in his determination to become a champion racehorse.
Frank Pryor’s amazing illustrations increased the overall enjoyment of the book. I enjoyed the author's use of dialogue to move the story forward and inject humor into the storyline.
Kelly rode Muley up the Old Mill Hill trail. I would have liked a drawing of this path to get a better mental image of the sheer rock Muley had to climb with Kelly riding on his back. Unfortunately, the book contained many misspelled words. Another round of proofreading would eliminate misspellings like “whiney” for “whinny.”
I rate this book 3 out of 4 stars. This delightful story entertains and teaches important character values such as friendship, helping others, and following your dreams. I had to lower the score due to the number of grammar errors. This book would appeal to a broad audience. As a young adult book, it would be an excellent read for early readers. Adults looking for a quick, enjoyable read could finish this 134-page book in one sitting. Muley: The Mule That Thought He Was A Racehorse is a charming story that, “hooves down,” you will want to share with others.
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