Middle-Grade Fiction Review – Selah’s Painted Dream by Susan Count


Thirteen-year-old Selah’s life is about as perfect as it gets. She has horsy friends at school, and on weekends, she rides her black mare on Grandpa’s farm. Training the horse to do upper-level liberty work is what makes her heart beat.

But one word can ruin a perfect life—moving.

A move would separate her from her horse, so she plots to get her name on the farm mailbox instead. She’s sure she could persuade Grandpa—except he’s overly distracted by a sheep-loving neighbor.

Determined not to let Grandpa’s new sweetheart take her place in his heart, Selah puts her hope in a painted dream horse from Grandpa’s past. When she snugs up the girth and buckles on her spurs, Selah rides to win.

My Thoughts

Selah’s Painted Dream (Susan Count) couldn’t have been released at a more opportune time, because in our household; summer is synonymous with reading. I selected this book with my 10-year-old daughter in mind. Like I was at her age, she is totally captivated by horses and all things equestrian (movies, books, and even clothing). Then there is the cover 😍 which even the most reluctant reader couldn’t resist!

As a military family, our children have experienced the same emotions as the main character of this story. Selah’s resistance to change is understandable, and initially she does not set an example I would want our children to emulate. Not only does she contrive to guilt her grandfather into letting her stay with him (and thereby her horse), she also actively seeks ways to thwart the widower’s romantic interest in his lovely and kind-hearted neighbor. Despite this selfishness, Selah does possess many admirable qualities. She’s responsible- as evidenced by her grandfather’s trust in her to take care of all the animals on his farm and to ride Dream alone. She also demonstrates kindness towards her younger siblings, grace towards a hurtful friend, compassion for neglected animals, and bravery in the face of danger. In due course, the author humbles and matures this young lady in such a way that her story becomes a fine lesson for readers.

Horsemanship, family, and faith are the main themes of this well-written and carefully paced story. Whether you are seeking a good adventure or a happily ever after, Selah’s Painted Dream is a great selection for your summer reading pile.


Your middle-grade reader may also enjoy these titles…


A Horse for Kate


Soprano Trouble


The Orlo Series


League and the Lantern



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