Happenstance Farms: A New Home
S. McMichael (author) Justo Borrero (illustrator)
EK-9 Solutions and Services LLC (2022)
Reviewed by: Lily Andrews for Reader Views (05/2022)
Change often involves a momentous transition, and having to come to terms with the unpredictability of a new path leads to anxiety. As human beings, we value familiarity and routine. So it is for little Savannah, in S. McMichael’s invigorating picture book, “Happenstance Farms: A New Home.”
Savannah, a young girl, had been training horse riding at Colts & Company and had made lots of friends. When her old trainer moves out of town, her mother enrolls her at Happenstance Farms with a new trainer, Miss Ellen. The little girl is sad and anxious as she drives with her mother to her new training grounds. Her only consolation is seeing her pony, Coffee. Despite her mother’s efforts to cheer her up, Savannah’s mood remains unchanged. Upon arriving and spending her first day in the new place, the young girl realizes that her fears and doubts were unfounded as she begins unlikely friendships.
McMichael deftly captures Savannah’s step-by-step journey from familiarity to newness without a single wasted sentence. Tapping into the themes of people’s connections among themselves and with animals, the empathetic tone present will inevitably touch the heart and soul of every child who reads this gem. Also, artist Borrero ably presents the young protagonist’s surroundings. The vibrant colors are delightful and small details like the animals on the farm, the lush display of the pastures, and vivid illustrations of the equestrians’ stables, create a comprehensive and convincing intermediary read.
Further, the educative aspect of the book is easy to decode for its target audience. Not only is this text written for pure escapist entertainment but it also carries along with it an enduring moral lesson. Children are encouraged to step confidently out of their comfort zones and embrace new experiences. Savannah is a charming and well-sculptured protagonist that young readers will effortlessly identify with. Her dedication and kind heart make it easy for young minds to connect with her. The author presents each character and mood in her well-wrought phrases inviting readers to pore over this lighthearted yarn.
“Happenstance Farms: A New Home” by S. McMichael is a 5-Star read. The writing is lyrical, the word choice meritorious and the imagery stellar. It is a clever springboard for children in a classroom setting to share their experiences with change.