By Julie Preble, Assistant Editor
If you have a daughter or granddaughter who loves horses,RICKI by Lou Honderich would be great summer reading for her (or for you both!).
The story follows 10-year-old, horse-crazed Ricki, who dreams of showing a horse and winning a blue ribbon. Ricki is also deaf.
Though her hearing disability isn’t the main focus of the story, it brings to light issues that most equestrians wouldn’t consider on a day-to-day basis.
For instance, at one horse show, Ricki shows in Western pleasure. On top of normal show nerves, the little girl worries that the ring steward will forget to signal the gait and direction changes.
Most equestrians take it for granted that they can hear the announcer tell them when to walk, trot, lope, and reverse.
It was something I’d never considered, and reading a book written from the perspective of a deaf person was very eye-opening.
I really enjoyed how Honderich emphasized that deaf children are just like other children; they just can’t hear.
While this may seem like common sense, misunderstanding (especially among children) can cause hurtful things to be done or said.
This happens in the book, and, in response, Ricki’s mother gives a presentation that shows the school’s deaf children participating in their favorite activities.
The large font makes it an easy and quick read for even the youngest of book lovers, and the story will not disappoint. Just be prepared for equal parts laughing and tearing up.
From the back cover:
Ricki, a 10-year-old deaf girl living in Oklahoma, is crazy about horses. Her dream is to win first place in a horse show. At her grandparents’ farm she works toward that goal, riding their Quarter Horse, Frosty. Then an unexpected event rocks her family’s comfortable life, bringing new challenges for everyone. Discover the fascinating world of deaf culture and sign language. Cheer for this spirited, determined girl on her quest for a blue ribbon.