A Foal Called Storm (Jasmine Green Rescues, Book 8) by Helen Peters, illustrated by Ellie Snowdon. Walker Books, 2022. 9781536222715
Rating: 1-5 (5 is an excellent or a Starred review) 4
Genre: realistic animal fiction
What did you like about the book? The morning after a big rainstorm, Jasmine Green finds an injured foal on her family’s farm. Jasmine, an aspiring animal rescuer, immediately springs into action. With the help of her friend Tom and Mistletoe the donkey, she leads the foal, which they name Storm, into a pen where they can keep him safe until Jasmine’s veterinarian mom comes home to see him. It’s already a busy day for Jasmine and her family, as she has agreed to care for a friend’s rabbits for a few days and they are expecting a visit from her great-aunt Eva (unaffectionately referred to as “Auntie Evil”), but caring for the foal becomes top priority. As Jasmine Green fans would expect, it’s clear that Jasmine really wants to keep Storm, but she also knows a horse that young still needs to be with his mother. As Storm’s injury heals and Jasmine gets a crash course in caring for a foal, her parents help her to reach out through various channels to try to locate Storm’s owner. They are ultimately successful, but not before Jasmine learns some ugly truths about horse thieves and other duplicitous people.
The Jasmine Green Rescues books depict the realities of modern farm life – the good and the bad. Jasmine has a lot of chores, many of which she has brought upon herself by adopting so many animals in the previous books, and she sometimes struggles to manage her time well to get everything done. She is lucky she has Tom to help her out (a lesson she learns the hard way in this book), but readers will definitely get a sense of how much work is involved in running a farm. There is also a theme of financial challenges; her parents make it clear that adding a horse to her menagerie would be expensive in terms of time, space, and money, all of which are in short supply for the whole family. Jasmine slowly comes to understand the value of honest communication and it is paying off. Readers may be disappointed in the way the book concludes, but there is definite hope that Jasmine will see Storm again. Short chapters, cute pencil drawings, and humorous scenes (usually involving Jasmine’s mischievous brother Manu) all add to the appeal of this slightly mysterious horse story.
Anything you did not like about the book? Previous books featured a ‘Q & A’ with Jasmine at the end; this one didn’t have it and I missed it! I also wanted more from the hypercritical Auntie Eva – I was really looking forward to Jasmine (or her mother) losing her temper with her. Perhaps she will reappear in future volumes.
To whom would you recommend this book? Appropriate for readers in grades 2 and up, it will appeal to those who have read earlier Jasmine Green books or classic English farm stories by Dick King-Smith or James Herriot. Definitely a good fit for anyone who might be looking to upgrade from animal series like Animal Ark and Puppy Place.
Who should buy this book? Public and elementary school libraries
Where would you shelve it? Fiction
Should we (librarians) put this on the top of our “to read” piles? No
Reviewer’s Name, Library (or school), City: Leigh Russell King, Lincoln Street School, Northborough, Massachusetts.
Date of review: July 14, 2022