BLACKADDER, Jesse Paruku: The Desert Brumby ABC, 2014 218pp $14.99 pbk +e ISBN 9780733331794 SCIS 1641755
Horse-lovers, and there are many of them among, will love this book and treasure it. The author herself claims to have been a ‘horse-mad kid’ and she has not lost that enthusiasm in her latest book which is based on a real life adventure. In following up all the details of an article the author read in the Sydney Morning Herald in 2009, she was able to make it into a well-organised and dramatic story.
Twelve-year old Rachel lives in a rich horsey environment in Glen Innes in New England with her father, Mike, a veterinarian, her mother, Helen, a horse ‘whisperer’ and trainer and her older sister, Cassie, a determined show-jumping champion. When her father is enlisted to secure a number of wild desert brumbies, many of which were of thoroughbred or Arabian stock, from the Tanami Desert region in the Kimberley near Hall’s Creek and train them to be exported to stables in Dubai to be trained as endurance horses, Rachel is begging to go but she has to be strapper for her sister. When Cassie has an accident, Rachel gets her chance to accompany her father to the Kimberley to share in the task of capturing and preparing the brumbies. Among them are two horses who become special to her, a young bay stallion and his mare. The stallion was given the name Paruku after the area (Lake Gregory) where he lived and the mare the name Marran soon to be with foal Marjii. The brumbies arrive back in New England, only to be shipped to Dubai with the whole family to settle them in in the stables and share in the training. Proud Paruku is not easy to handle and shuns Rachel, but she learns to gain his confidence.
Like Rachel, the author knows her horses and their habits and is familiar with the details of handling and training them and the young reader has a chance step-by step to learn the process, not only from the human side of things but throughout the story from Paruku’s point of view in his relations with the ‘Two-legs’ who took away his freedom. Rachel and Paruku will gain many friends from this book, a great read for aged 8 to 13 and older.
reviewed by John D Adams