Old & New: White Stallion of Lippiza and The Star of Kazan April 25, 2014Posted by ccbooks in Book Reviews.
Eva Ibbotsen’s middle grade books can be divided roughly into two categories: fantasy books about magical creatures and historical fiction about adventurous children. The Star of Kazan, which stars an orphan boy and girl in turn of the century Austria, falls into the second category.
Annika is a foundling being raised by a cook and housemaid in the home of a group of Viennese professors. She has wonderful friends and the beautiful city around her, but still wishes she knew her real mother. When Frau Edeltraut Tannenberg comes to sweep her away to a castle in Germany, it looks as though all her dreams are coming true. But things aren’t quite right at her new home and only with the help of the stableboy Zed will Annika solve the mystery of her birth and the fate of a set of fantastic jewels, including the Star of Kazan. The description and detail will delight readers who love to imagine life in the past, while the mystery and adventure will satisfy those who prefer stories with action.
Marguerite Henry is best known for her book Misty of Chincoteague, but she wrote a whole list of other books featuring horses and one of them is set in turn of the century Vienna. Called White Stallion of Lipizza, the protagonist is Hans Haupt; a baker’s son who dreams of being a Riding Master. With study, hard work and the help of his family and neighbors, Hans achieves his dream after many years of struggle. Both of these books feature protagonists who long for something different–Annika wants to know her real family, while both Hans and Zed want to work with horses. White Stallion of Lippiza is the perfect book for readers who want to further imagine Zed’s life as an apprentice as well as for anyone who is curious about the history of the Lippizaner horses (which can still be seen today) and their riders. Give either book to a young reader traveling to Vienna, or to any reader interested in horses and adventure.