A Horse for Kate is story about a girl, Kate, as depicted on the cover, who longs to own a horse. This is many a girl's dream; mine included, I'm sure. Fate and circumstances dictate whether you or I fulfill this dream. As it does for Kate.
I have to admire Kate for her persistence. Also for her parents' patience with her demands. I would have received a definite, 'No.' End of. Still, it didn't stop me dreaming.
Kate is a twelve year old, coming up thirteen, girl with a surprising knowledge of horses in some areas. In others, she is lacking which didn't quite tally up with the knowledge she does hold. For example, in Spokane, the book is set in the United States, she regularly helped out at the local stables including taking riding lessons. But, now in Odell, Oregon, she manages to get a job helping out a stables near by. Nothing amiss here, but then it turns out, she doesn't know how to muck a stable out. She also has a definite aversion to anything 'mucky'. As a horse lover, everything about horses, I absolutely love! Soiled bedding included. There's a certain smell to it and it doesn't smell like poo as we know it. There are no chores.
Then, along comes her birthday. The hope that she receives a horse continues. What she does receive is a saddle. I just knew it was going to be somehow. But, the trouble with saddles is that they have to fit you and, more importantly, the horse. Neither of which can be foreseen. A saddle as a gift is rarely given impromptu in the UK, unless it is for a known horse measured specifically for it.
What I liked about A Horse for Kate, is that Miralee Ferrell, touches upon the subject of disability, namely Autism. And does so with sensitivity. From what I know of Autism, Kate's brother, Pete, exhibits some of the known characteristics of the condition. I'm delighted that horses and disability have come together. So, refreshing and touching.
Kate, I'm not so sure of as a character. She doesn't behave spoilt but I'm not loving her much, either. Her, friend, Tori is weaker than Kate but is not afraid to try to combat her fear of horses. She has resolve, that much I can say. If anything, I probably liked her more simply because she displays emotions that could make a novel more exciting.
In summary, A Horse for Kate, makes for good reading for children. It's worthwhile if just for the realism it portrays in a couple of the characters. The ones I consider the most important.