Backyard Horse Tales/ Sox cover and book reviews

Purchase a copy of Sox and Emma’s expanded story at E-book versions are online for all e-readers. Make sure you get the 2nd Edition!

Interview & Book Review

Jackie Anton hopes her book Backyard Horse Tales/ Sox(second edition) will teach young readers (and not-so young readers) how to cultivate strong will, faith, and determination in order to better navigate the roadblocks of life.

     Anton drew inspiration for the book from a real horse. “Sox, the real one, was born on our farm in 1998. He was exceptional from the start and lent himself to the first of the Backyard Horse Tales. His photo as a young foal graces the cover of the tale he inspired. Emma was inspired by the countless children facing adversity, and feeling the loss of a parent deployed abroad,” she said.

Jackie Anton’s book opens with the enlightening perspective of a foal (Sox) thrust into the physical world of blacksmiths, vets, and humans he refers to as “aliens.’

Her story is narrated by Sox, a quarter horse, and when asked  to describe what it was like developing the character’s voice, Anton revealed most of her life has been centered around horses.

“A horse’s reactions to our modern world differ drastically from those of humans. For one thing, most horses don’t see directly in front of themselves. Their vision is blank for about four feet, and  to look at something closer than that requires  a lowering of their head. I tried to imagine seeing like a horse, and being stuck in a world where no one spoke your language,” she said.

Anton’s innovative approach at creating Sox’s narrative voice is compelling. Anton’s vibrant language and striking details brought Sox’s world alive, so the reader can share in the excitement the characters feel as they navigate the reining sport arena, and compete.

The narration is reminiscent of Anna Sewell’s Black Beauty, a book Anton devoured while in middle school.  “Anna Sewell’s book was the first book I recall l that looked at life through the eyes of a horse. Written in 1877, the story is still beloved by today’s readers, and my nine-year old grand -daughter bought it with her birthday money, “ she said.

Anton’s vivid narrative contains effective dramatization, and sensory language which keeps the story moving at an almost breathless pace.

The book’s structure works well comprising Emma’s diary entries, dialogue, and Sox’s powerful narrative voice. Emma, a well-realized eleven year old, enjoys a unique bond with the American Quarter Horse. Both appear to be going through separation anxiety. Anton deftly reveals how Sox is weaned from being a “suckling foal” and Emma, too is separated from her mother deployed in Iraq.

Eventually, the reader captures a universal truth as Anton skillfully develops the relationship between Emma and Sox- the truth that humans can allow themselves to be one with all of creation. Animal lovers will find this book irresistible.

Interview and review by: Jackie O’Neal

President of O’Neal Author Media Services

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