Goble, Paul. The Girl Who Loved Wild Horses. New York: Aladdin Books, 1978. ISBN: 0-689-84504-9.
The Girl Who Loved Wild Horses
is a children’s picture book. The plot of the story is about a Native American
girl who loves wild horses and chooses to go live with them.
Paul Goble is a non-American Indian reteller
and illustrator of picture books. As an adopted member of the Ogala Sioux and
Yakima tribes, he admires and respects their values and traditions. Therefore, he writes culturally conscious books. (Noll, 1995)
Although the story never mentions that
the girl is Native American, the illustrations portray a girl from a Plain Indian tribe.
The actual name of the tribe is not mentioned in the story. The illustrations are done in vibrant colors that show patterns typical of the Indians of the Plains. The author uses techniques that show movement and excitement among the animals and
the environment. The people on the other hand are portrayed in a respectful
way. They are placed in the illustrations in poses that looks away from
the reader. This is done to avoid showing facial expressions. However, each character in the story is illustrated with unique facial features and clothing using different
kinds of patterns and colors common to the Indian of the Plains. In other words,
they are not replicas of each other.
We know the book refers to Plain
Indians because the illustrations show that they hunt buffalo and they live in teepees in order to move freely to do so. However, the time period is not clear from reading the book. The reader may infer that it was a long time ago because the illustrations make to reference to any modern
The story is simple to understand. It shows the importance Native Americans give to the tribe as a community and to each
member of the tribe. However, it also shows the respect they give to the desires
and decisions of individuals. When the hunters realized she was with the wild
horses, they searched for her and brought her back; but the tribe and her parents allowed her to go back because that made
This is a good book that can be used with
elementary students to identify the artifacts, patterns, and symbols that project the culture of the Plain Indians. Then, we could compare such things with those common in the culture of our students today. This way the students can see the difference in the cultures that surrounds them as well as the culture
of the Plains Indians.
Noll, Elizabeth. “Accuracy and Authenticity
in American Indian Children’s Literature: The Social Responsibility of Authors and Illustrators”. In Stories Matter” The Complexity of Cultural Authenticity in Children’s Literature, edited by Dana L.
Fox and Kathy G. Short, p. 182-197. Illinois, National OCucil
of Teachers of English, 2003.