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Mary Casanova - Books for Young People
Stealing Thunder by Mary Casanova
Stealing Thunder
University of MN Press, 2014
(PB) 978-0-81669-210-1

ebook: Kindle, Nook, Kobo
Selected for the Iowa Children's Choice Book Award 2002-2003 Master List
Mary and Charlie Casanova with their horses Jay and Midnight
Mary and Charlie Casanova with
their horses Jay and Midnight.
Stealing Thunder from Autographed books!
Stealing Thunder
“Fingers trembling, [Libby] fumbled the latch, pushed the gate open with her left foot, and nudged Thunder out, holding the door wide ...

Book Description:

Libby loves her horses, and although she doesn't have one of her own, she's lucky she can always visit with the horses that belong to her neighbors, the Porters. For years Libby has helped Mrs. Porter—Jolene—care for the horses in exchange for lessons. And during her time there, she has forged a special bond with Jolene's prize horse, Thunder.

Libby's world changes when Jolene mysteriously leaves and Libby is no longer free to see Thunder as much as she'd like. Bound and determined, she sneaks into the stable to visit Thunder. But Libby notices blood around his eye and realizes that Mr. Porter is taking his anger out on the horse. With the help of Griff, a new boy in her class with whom Libby is spending increasingly more time, she decides to steal thunder to ensure his safety. But Mr. Porter is on the lookout for Libby and has a backup plan of his own ...

In this fast-paced adventure, Libby finds her own voice as she stands up for what she believes in a world of adults who think they know best.

Reviews and Comments
"The action builds steadily and will sustain readers' interest. A short history of France in the early 1700s and a glossary of French words are included. "American Girl" fans will be charmed by Cecile and her regal life."
—School Library Journal

"The first marvel of the quintet is visual—the size of the books is instantly appealingá. Heroines [are influenced by] significant female role models, nonmothers who are outside the boundaries of gender roles either by circumstance or choice. Cécile is sent away from her father to be a servant at Versailles, and there she meets an actual historical figure—the Duchesse d’Orleans, Elisabeth Charlotte, called simply Madame, whose letters inspired Mary Casanova to use her as a role model for the impressionable, smart, and motherless Cécile."These are wonderful, finely wrought testaments to courage, intellect, and persistence, not only for girls who happen to love beautiful dolls, but for anyone who loves outstanding books for children."
—Margaret Willey, Ruminator Review

Mary Answers Your Questions about Stealing Thunder
  • Iowa Children’s Choice Master List, 2002-2003
  • Maud Hart Lovelace Book Master List, (Minnesota) 2002-2003
  • Massachusetts Children’s Book Award Master List, 2003

Mary Answers Your Questions about Stealing Thunder
Readers sometimes send questions about one of my books. Here are a few questions (and my answers) to some readers' questions about Stealing Thunder.
What inspired you to write a book on horses?
MC: I wanted to write a book that would be a great story that both horse lovers and regular readers could enjoy. When I stumbled upon an article about some people who were charged with killing horses for insurance money, my blood boiled, and I knew there was the hint of a story there.
When you were a kid did you want a horse?
MC: Ever since I went to camp, where I was able to go horseback riding every day, I had wanted a horse. I finally got a horse when I was about 13. I had horses until I was about 18. My horse, Keema, was an Appaloosa, just like Thunderbird in Stealing Thunder.
Do you like horses?
MC: Yes, I still love horses. A few years ago my husband and I both bought horses. We now board our two horses at a nearby stable and go trail-riding as often as possible.
How old were you when you wrote your first book?
MC: My first book, The Golden Retriever came out in l990. But I consider Moose Tracks, my first novel, as my first big accomplishment as a writer. That book came out in 1995 and I was 38.
Are horses your favorite animal?
MC: Yes, but I also love dogs, wolves, moose, otters,'s really hard to say one is my favorite. Life is simply too rich and full to have to choose favorites.
Do you live on a farm?
MC: No, but when I was younger we had several acres and lived on the outskirts of St. Paul with plenty of surrounding fields to go riding in. Now I live in a remote little village on a wilderness lake, Rainy Lake, here on the Minnesota-Canadian border.
Did you know anybody that treated their horse bad?
MC: I didn't know anyone who treated their horses badly. But we've all heard stories.
Did you feel bad for Libby when she broke her leg?
MC: Absolutely. And I got the idea for that part of the story because my daughter, Kate, broke her foot at a birthday party during the time when I was writing this book.
Do you think that Porter deserved to go to jail for what he did?
MC: Yes. Not for life, but for long enough to make him think about his actions.
Do you think that Griff was a good friend to Libby?
MC: I like Griff. He's a boy who had been in some trouble, but he's a good guy at heart. And he was the only one who really listened to Libby at at time when she desperately needed to be heard. So yes.
Mary, trail riding near Ely, Minnesota. Her horse, Jay, has his ears back slightly as he was in no mood to stand still for a photo shoot. It was a day to cover lots of miles.
Curriculum Information
Books with the Dual theme of Horses and Animal Abuse

Available at bookstores and libraries:

The First Horse I See by Sally M. Keehn. (Putnam, 1999; pb 2000).
Left in the care of her beloved Granddad following the death of her mother, Willojean tries to prove to her alcoholic father that she is able to train a special horse which had been abused.

Cleveland Amory tells the story of the founders of an animal sanctuary in Ranch of Dreams: The Country's Most Unusual Sanctuary, Where Every Animal Has a Story (Viking Books, 1997). These stories make great read aloud tales for sharing with middle grade or middle school readers.

At your library (check interlibrary loan, if not available in your local library):

Danza! by Lynn Hall. (Simon & Schuster, 1983)
While in the United States with one of his grandfather's Paso Fino stallions, a Puerto Rican teenager works to rehabilitate a championship horse who had been foddered.

Somebody's Horse by Dorothy Nafus Morrison. (Simon & Schuster, 1986)
Jenny's good care transforms a pathetic, sick, and abandoned horse into a splendid jumper, but there remains the question of who the real owner is.

Online Stories

Dream Catcher Farm Horse Sanctuary
The Horse Sanctuary resides on a horse farm in Rocky Mount, Virginia. We provide a home for abused, neglected, retired and elderly equine. Read the stories of several horses and their rescue and “retirement? at Dream Catcher.

Finding Other Horse Books—General

Online check

Authors of horse stories not to be missed include:

  • Marguerite Henry

  • Lynn Hall

  • Anna Sewell (Black Beauty)

  • Walter Farley (The Black Stallion)

As an introduction to several classic authors read Classic Horse and Pony Stories: The World's Best Horse and Pony Stories in Their Real-Life Settings by Diana Pullein-Thompson and illustrator Neal Puddephatt. (Available as a paperback and audio release from Dorling Kindersley Publishing 2000; ISBN-13: 978-0789463623). Among the authors included are Anna Sewell, Lewis Carroll, Walter Farley, Mary O'Hara, Marguerite Henry, and Diana Pullein-Thompson. Each story is followed by some tidbit about the care of horses, historical facts, or human-interest stories that coincide with the story just presented. The stories come from different parts of the world and also tell about different breeds and their particular qualities.

Younger readers will enjoy Girls and Their Horses: True Tales from American Girl with Cards (Pleasant Company Publications, 2000)

The seven stories feature real characters that have experienced some adventure through their love of horses. One story follows Mandy as she watches the annual swim of the Assateague ponies and then bids on and purchases her favorite. The story of the famous Assateague ponies (from Misty of Chincoteague by Marguerite Henry) is told, as well as Mandy's involvement. There is a chapter about horses, which includes 24 different horse trading cards.

Those readers who have difficulty reading challenging texts will enjoy reading an informative but manageable text, DK Readers: Horse Heroes (Level 4: Proficient Readers) by Kate Petty (DK Ink., 1999). Seven stories of heroic and amazing horses.

German Edition
German translation by Simon Wiemken

Loewe Verlag, 2002

Nur im Schutz der Dunkelheit kann Libby Donnerhall besuchen. Donnerhall, den stolzen Hengst, dessen weißes Fell mit den unzähligen braunen Punkten sanft im Mondlicht schimmert. Donnerhall, den sie über alles liebt. Sie erträgt es einfach nicht mehr länger mitanzusehen, wie das Pferd unter der schlechten Behandlung seines tyrannischen Besitzers Mr Porter leidet. Und Libby fasst einen verzweifelten Entschluss. Doch sie hat nicht mit der Wachsamkeit Mr. Porters gerechnet

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