Saturday, February 09, 2008

No Apologies!

...for not blogging for a while. And, if I don't apologize for not blogging, I can at least honour one of my New Years' Resolutions! Obviously, I'm not doing so well on my other resolution - to blog mroe often!

Anyway, the silence in blogland has nothing to do with a lack of things going on over in the real world. Today, for example, a lovely review of Behind the Scenes: Racehorse in the Globe and Mail by Susan Perren.

By Nikki Tate, Fitzhenry & Whiteside, 72 pages, $24.95, ages 9 to 14

"People and horses have co-existed for thousands of years, though nobody is quite sure when humans realized that horses were capable of providing more than a source of food. Once people saw how fast their new mode of transportation could be, it probably wasn't long before the first horse race took place."

These words set the stage for a very thorough and very readable investigation of racehorses and horse racing, an arcane subject, perhaps, for the young, but in Nikki Tate's hands an engrossing one.

Tate uses coloured photographs liberally and to good effect to take her readers into horse barns and onto racetracks. She tackles the history of and differences between Thoroughbreds, Standardbreds and Quarter Horses, as well as their attributes.

Tate doesn't hesitate to illuminate the dark side of horse racing - drug abuse, cheating, overproduction, inbreeding, abuse - but her enthusiasm carries the day.

Oh, how elusive the Globe and Mail review! And how sweet when the coveted review finally appears! Yes, I am celebrating here today!

The great review made up a little for the terrible, terrible behaviour of Ringo, my young and zany Welsh-Hackney cross. I am not exactly sure what set him off, but wow - our quiet stroll down the road and back (pony in hand as he's not yet broke to ride) was way more exciting than it should have been!

As I type, I wonder if there is even any point in trying to catch up on all the highlights of the last couple of months. It feels like an impossible task - so I'll stick to what's going on today.

The most interesting thing that's going on is the Cybils picture book judging (fiction category). While my own deliberations have been tortured (there are seven excellent finalists), I can only imaging what the next three or four days of group discussions will be like (I am one of several judges). Ack. How on earth are we to decide this one?

In less interesting, but quite fun news, just finished my column for Island Parent Magazine - reviewed a stack of books for kids about dogs - dog training, dog care, dog behaviour, dog breeds... you get the idea. Watch for the column in March.

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