Wild Horse Annie: Friend of the Mustangs
Wild Horse Annie: Friend of the Mustangs
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Annotation: Readers will find inspiration in author Tracey Fern and artist Steven Salerno's portrait of an early animal-rights advocate, who spoke up for what she believed in, and empowered a generation of children to be a voice for the voiceless.
Genre: Biographies
Catalog Number: #181421
Format: Publisher's Hardcover
No other formats available
Copyright Date: 2019
Edition Date: 2019
Illustrator: Salerno, Steven,
Pages: 48
Availability: Available
ISBN: 0-374-30306-1
ISBN 13: 978-0-374-30306-8
Dewey: 921
LCCN: 2018944918
Dimensions: 29 cm.
Language: English
Horn Book
Born Velma Bronn Johnston, "Wild Horse Annie" grows up watching her father tame mustangs. In 1971, adult Annie, with help from schoolchildren petitioning legislators, wins federal protection for wild horses. The text makes good use of anecdotes and quotes to capture Annie's personality and convey her personal challenges (including polio). Fluid, cartoonlike illustrations depict Annie's energy and subtly suggest her lifelong disability. Bib.
Kirkus Reviews
Polio survivor Velma Bronn Johnston, known as Wild Horse Annie, fights to save mustang horses from slaughter.Since she was "just a speck of a girl," Annie has loved the mustangs on her family's Nevada ranch. After Annie contracts polio at age 11, emerging with a bent spine and twisted face, she dreams of galloping with wild herds. But by the time Annie gets married and starts her own ranch, the herds have been killed by cattle ranchers and hunters. In folksy language matching Annie's quoted quips, Fern recounts Annie's campaigns to protect mustangs first locally, then federally. Refusing to "hush up" and unfazed by threats, Annie sends hundreds of letters and addresses government officials even though speaking in public makes her feel like "a cat on a hot frying pan." Finally, help from her "secret weapon"—an enthusiastic letter-writing, fundraising "pencil brigade" of schoolchildren—leads to the 1971 passage of the Wild Free-Roaming Horses and Burros Act. Salerno's sun-drenched illustrations capture the equally hardy spirits of the mustangs and Annie herself. Though the author acknowledges Annie's disfigurement, chronic pain, and self-consciousness, Annie's most prominent features are alternately her stubbornly scowling eyebrows and wide, warm grin. An author's note provides further background on mustangs and Johnston's pioneering efforts. Annie and her husband are white; the children's complexions vary.An uplifting tale of animal rights, perseverance, and kids' power to make a difference. (bibliography) (Picture book/biography. 7-10)
Publishers Weekly
As a girl on her family-s Nevada ranch, Velma Bronn Johnston, known as Annie, fell in love with mustangs. That love sustained her through a devastating bout of childhood polio--horses took the pain away, at least for a little while.- As an adult and rancher in her own right, she noticed the brutal and inhumane way that wild horses were treated. Her outrage drove her unexpected second career as an animal-rights activist, earned her the nickname -Wild Horse Annie,- and, via a children-s letter-writing campaign, led to federal laws protecting mustangs. Though the issue of how to share land with wild horses remains controversial, Annie-s passion and persistence in the face of long odds resonates. Salerno-s illustrations combine loping lines, sketched details, and rubbed textures to conjure the vanished west of the mid-20th century, and they cleverly balance a running mustang herd with letters stampeding from Annie-s typewriter. Ages 4-7. (Feb.)
Reviewing Agencies: - Find Other Reviewed Titles
Horn Book (8/1/19)
Kirkus Reviews
Publishers Weekly
Bibliography Index/Note: Includes bibliographical references.
Word Count: 2,066
Reading Level: 5.5
Interest Level: 2-5
Accelerated Reader: reading level: 5.5 / points: 0.5 / quiz: 502175 / grade: Lower Grades
Reading Counts!: reading level:5.6 / points:3.0 / quiz:Q76680
Lexile: NC930L
Guided Reading Level: N

"Wild Horse Annie" was the nickname of Velma Bronn Johnston (1912-77), who loved mustangs all her life. When she saw mustangs being rounded up and killed to make room for ranchers' livestock, she knew she had to speak up. In 1950, she began writing letters to local newspapers and politicians, defending the horses' right to roam free. Many people told Annie to hush up, but they couldn't stop her. She soon became a voice for mustangs throughout the state of Nevada, speaking on their behalf at town halls and meetings. But Annie was only one person, and she wanted to do more. So she got children to speak up, too, by having them write letters to Washington, D.C., officials to ask them to save the mustangs. Finally, with the help of her young "pencil brigade," Annie persuaded Congress to pass nationwide laws protecting wild horses and burros on public land nationwide. Readers will find inspiration in author Tracey Fern and artist Steven Salerno's portrait of an early animal-rights advocate, who spoke up for what she believed in, and empowered a generation of children to be a voice for the voiceless.

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