The first volume of a new series of books is likely to have several goals but none more prominent than to stoke enough interest in a young reader to keep 'em coming back for more. To that extent, book 1 of the newish Horse Crazy series, "The Silver Horse Switch" (by Alison Lester, from Chronicle Books), shines!
Not only do the Bear and I eagerly await future books in the series, but we already have a crystal clear picture of life on the small Aussie farm, the personalities of the two lead characters (Sam and Bon) and the makeup of the silver brumby that swapped places with a horse wishing to answer the call of the wild.
The pace of Horse Crazy "The Silver Horse Switch" is superb. The writing moves briskly between scenes and the arc of the story is extremely exciting. My 5-year wanted to stay up WAY past her bedtime and not just for the sake of staying up WAY past her bedtime, but rather because she was so engrossed in the story and simply refused to retire before it's climax.
I'd be remiss if I didn't mention Roland Harvey's pastel watercolors that are inserted every few pages. They're quite pleasant, aiding the telling of the story very well.
Like Ivy & Bean, Horse Crazy should be right in the wheelhouse of most 5-8 year old kids. Thanks to books like Horse Crazy, I'm witnessing the dawn of an honest to goodness book lover.