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Review: Wild Girl

February 13, 2010

After Lidie’s mother dies, her father and brother immigrate from their native Brazil to the US, leaving Lidie behind with her aunt and uncle.  Lidie is happy enough with her aunt and uncle, riding her uncle’s horse, but she longs to be reunited with her family.

After years of hard work and scrimping and saving, Lidie’s father and brother, Rafael, send for her to join them in America.  Excited, but nervous, Lidie embarks on a new part of her life.  She has to face attending school in a language she’s not fluent in and rebuilding a life with a family she hasn’t seen in years.  But Lidie is strong and faces her challenges head on.

Wild Girl by Patricia Reilly Giff gets its name from a horse Lidie’s father owns.  When he saw the horse was named Wild Girl – a nickname his wife had called Lidie – he knew he had to buy it.  Wild Girl turns out to be just what the family needs to bring them back together emotionally after being apart physically for so long.

Horses and horse racing are the backdrop for a story of immigration and love of family in this book.  When Lidie starts school in the US and struggles with the language, my heart went out to her, because I knew just how she felt.  I loved the way her teacher reached out to her and her classmates accepted her.  I hope children who read this middle grade book will learn some compassion from their actions.

I also enjoyed the family dynamics in Wild Girl.  Lidie’s father wasn’t good at expressing his emotions.  The reader always knows of his deep love for Lidie, but she doesn’t and the scene when she figures it out brought tears to my eyes.

I was never a “horsey” girl, so I wasn’t sure this book would be for me, but found that I really enjoyed it.  I think young girls, especially those who love animals will enjoy it too.

Patricia Reilly Giff has won the Newbery Honor twice – for Lily’s Crossing in 1998 and for Pictures of Hollis in 2003.

Every Saturday, Julie of Booking Mama  hosts a feature called Kid Konnection — a (hopefully) regular weekend feature about anything related to children’s books. Click on the logo to go to her site and see more reviews.

I received this book at the Kick Off Kids Lunch at the SIBA Trade Show.  I am an Amazon Associate.
20 Comments leave one →
  1. February 13, 2010 5:59 am

    What a touching story! When I visit Poland, I am completely shut down from the lack of language skills. I cannot imagine having to move there and get by. It is insanely intimidating. And you have basically lived this, haven’t you? I love the fact that horses are the twist to this story that makes it just a little bit different. I love horses, and I’m sure I would love this book!

  2. February 13, 2010 6:19 am

    I will have to remember this in a few years for my niece – she’s a horse-lover. Guess I better get it now or I’ll forget! Her mom will probably love it, too.

  3. February 13, 2010 7:16 am

    This does sound excellent. I think I need to read this one.

  4. February 13, 2010 7:25 am

    It does sound lovely. I always wished that I had learnt to ride a horse. I imagine it as a lovely hobby to have.

  5. February 13, 2010 7:54 am

    This sounds like a good one! I wasn’t a horse gal, either (I was sort of an animal rights geek, instead. oops!) but this sounds really neat from a transitions point of view.

  6. February 13, 2010 8:02 am

    My oldest will love this! I love Patricia Reilly Giff too. 🙂 Must read this one soon!

  7. February 13, 2010 8:14 am

    This sounds like a story I would enjoy. I can not imagine moving to an area where I am not fluent in the language. Seems like a touching story.

  8. February 13, 2010 8:16 am

    Your review is so well written. This does sound like a wonderful story! Thank you so much for participating in Kid Konnection!

  9. February 13, 2010 8:23 am

    sounds like a cute little book.

  10. Lily permalink
    February 13, 2010 9:34 am

    Thank you so much for leaving so many wonderful comments on my profile!!! I love them soooo much! I thought the cover was gorgous too!! All my guy friends thought she was ugly!! Can you believe it??!..Well…thanks again! And tell your friends about me please!

  11. February 13, 2010 9:44 am

    This sounds perfect for my niece. She loves anything that in any way has to do with horses!

  12. bethfishreads permalink
    February 13, 2010 9:48 am

    I agree with the others — this sounds like a book I should read. I went to riding camp for a few years, so I know I’d like the horse part.

  13. February 13, 2010 1:01 pm

    Looks like a very heartfelt story. Great review, not really my kind of book, but I’ll probably give it a glance still.

  14. stacybuckeye permalink
    February 13, 2010 1:52 pm

    What a great book, especially for a horse lover.

  15. February 13, 2010 4:39 pm

    Giff is a wonderful children’s author and very popular with me and the students at my school. I can’t keep this book on the shelves!!

  16. February 13, 2010 10:35 pm

    Your post reminded me that I snagged a galley of this book a while back, before it was published, and it’s been gathering dust in my ever-growing stack.

  17. February 14, 2010 11:12 am

    This sounds like a wonderful book for middle grade children, especially girls. There are many children in this situation and it sounds like it would be a good story for children to read.

  18. February 14, 2010 1:05 pm

    this sounds like a nice story.

  19. February 15, 2010 12:57 pm

    I bet my daughter would just love this book! She isn’t really a “horsey” girl, but she loves animals of all kinds, so this should work for her. Great review, and I am glad you liked it!

  20. February 17, 2010 8:43 am

    I think The Girl would like this one, and I’d probably read it, too. Though I was never big on horses, I’ve always been drawn to immigrant stories.

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