cover image Wild Horse Annie: Friend of the Mustangs

Wild Horse Annie: Friend of the Mustangs

Tracey Fern, illus. by Steven Salerno. Farrar, Straus and Giroux, $17.99 (48p) ISBN 978-0-374-30306-8

As a girl on her family’s Nevada ranch, Velma Bronn Johnston, known as Annie, fell in love with mustangs. That love sustained her through a devastating bout of childhood polio—“horses took the pain away, at least for a little while.” As an adult and rancher in her own right, she noticed the brutal and inhumane way that wild horses were treated. Her outrage drove her unexpected second career as an animal-rights activist, earned her the nickname “Wild Horse Annie,” and, via a children’s letter-writing campaign, led to federal laws protecting mustangs. Though the issue of how to share land with wild horses remains controversial, Annie’s passion and persistence in the face of long odds resonates. Salerno’s illustrations combine loping lines, sketched details, and rubbed textures to conjure the vanished west of the mid-20th century, and they cleverly balance a running mustang herd with letters stampeding from Annie’s typewriter. Ages 4–7. [em](Feb.) [/em]