“My Desert Sun” by Diana Tuorto

“My Desert Sun” by Diana Tuorto 717 1024 Reader Views Kids

My Desert Sun

Diana Tuorto
BookSurge Publishing (2009)
ISBN: 978-1439232378
Reviewed by Diana Coyle for Reader Views (06/2024)

When Cayuse, a young and free-spirited mustang was six months old he lost his mom, a beautiful chestnut mare, to a mountain lion attack in “My Desert Sun” by Diana Tuorto. She lost her life to save him. Now orphaned, the nearby herd adopted him and helped raise him. One horse, Chickasaw, took Cayuse under his wing and became an adopted father to the young mustang. Things were good for about three years. Cayuse grew up and learned so much from not only Chickasaw but the other members of his herd. That all changed though when wranglers came and decided to claim the mustangs as their own. Cayuse’s life would never be the same from that moment on.

He was corralled and loaded into a trailer by the wranglers and taken away from the herd he knew and loved. Luckily for him, he met a beautiful mare named Blackbird and they became fast friends. She too was orphaned and understood exactly what Cayuse went through. Now living on a horse farm owned by a nasty man named Mr. Chase, Cayuse, and Blackbird need to look out for each other. Unfortunately, neither mustang knew anything about living on a horse farm since both were raised as wild and free mustangs. Mr. Chase was determined to break both mustangs even if that meant hurting them, so that they became submissive. This would be only the first of many misfortunate events for Cayuse.

My first impression of this story was that my heart went out to all the wild mustangs that got corralled by Mr. Chase. Just the way he was telling his ranch hands to be aggressive with the herd while they were trying to load them into trailers, made me know right away that Mr. Chase had only one thing on his mind – to make money. He would do it however he needed to in order to make the mustangs submit to his extremely rough training style. I hoped that both Cayuse and Blackbird would survive long enough on Mr. Chase’s ranch to be able to break free from their confinements. I found my heart beating rapidly in my chest as the mustangs were being mistreated and abused. I wanted them to be able to break free from Mr. Chase and his rough handlers no matter how they had to do it.

I enjoyed how the author wrote the story from Cayuse’s point of view. In doing it this way, she made this story fresh and unique because it was being narrated by Cayuse himself. I can’t recall ever reading a story being told by a horse. I have to say that this story will stick out in my mind because of this fun approach to telling this story through Cayuse’s eyes, even when the narration was sometimes heart-wrenching.

I also want to take this opportunity to mention that I love the illustrator’s hand-drawn picture of Cayuse that graces the cover. Karen Elizabeth Stober did a remarkable job portraying the beauty Cayuse possessed while being free in the open world around him. This illustration made me long for the days when Cayuse was wild and free, and I hoped he would get that opportunity again before it was too late.

Overall, I really enjoyed reading “My Desert Sun” by Diana Tuorto because of the deep and heartfelt emotions each page conveyed to me as a reader. I truly enjoyed having the story narrated through Cayuse’s eyes and I felt I was right alongside him as he went through his journeys. This story is labeled for readers aged 9-12 years, although it could be enjoyed by older readers as well. However, due to the potential for trauma associated with the abuse mentioned, parents are encouraged to use discretion in this regard, as it might be too much for younger readers to handle. That being said, I highly recommend this story for readers who enjoy nature, horses, tales of resilience, freedom, and hope.

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