Pinto! Book Review & Book Tour Giveaway

When I was younger, my grandparents and I always enjoyed reading together and sharing books. They loved Westerns and historical fiction--so finding middle grade books with historical themes, horses and adventures always makes me happy! This week, I have had the opportunity to read and review a couple of middle grade books from author M.J. Evans.  Today, I am sharing my review of Pinto! and, tomorrow, I will be featuring In the Heart of a Mustang!  Check out my thoughts on Pinto!, learn about the author and the book--and enter the book tour giveaway at the end of this post!

Book Title:  PINTO! Based Upon the True Story of the Longest Horseback Ride in History by M.J. Evans
Category:  Middle-Grade Fiction (Ages 8-12),  243 pages
Genre: Historical Fiction
Publisher:  Dancing Horse Press
Release date:   October, 2019
Content Rating:  G. This book is taken from the actual journals that were kept by the men on the journey. There is no bad language or explicit scenes.

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About the Book

In 1912, four men, calling themselves the “Overland Westerners,” decided fame and fortune awaited if they embarked on the longest horseback ride in history. Their goal was to visit all forty-eight state capitals over the course of three years and complete their journey at the San Francisco World’s Fair on June 1, 1915. Facing rugged roads, raging rivers, thieves and near starvation, the men went through seventeen horses. Only one horse completed the entire journey…Pinto, a little horse with a heart as big as the whole country! This is Pinto’s account of his arduous adventure.

My Review

Pinto! Offers a Fun Blend of Fact and Fiction. I love books that give a bit of a history lesson in a fun way--and MJ Evans does just that in Pinto! I had never learned about the "Overland Westerners," so this was a fun introduction to their story. The author does a great job keeping the story well placed in its historical context and making the scenes vivid and realistic--all while telling the story from the horse's point of view! The pages are easy to read, fast-paced, and entertaining for kids and adults alike--especially for history fans and horse lovers!

Pinto is the Perfect Storyteller.  I loved reading the horse's thoughts--and I loved his spunk and character. While he was undoubtedly young and a little overly-confident at times--his ability to persevere through his challenges (and his views of the problems faced) were exciting and actually inspiring. 

Would I Recommend Pinto! by MJ Evans? I enjoyed this book as much as the kids--maybe a little more even as it inspired me to research the Overland Westerners and learn more about the group's real-life adventures. Pinto! is a great way to bring history into your child's view in a fun way! Today's kids have become very far removed from horseback travel and a world before cars! Although the book is written for children (and uses a horse as its storyteller)--the author does a wonderful job adding historical details and realistic narrative for older readers too! Pinto! is an excellent read for animal lovers and a fun way for parents to add some interesting aspects of history to our learn-at-home environments this fall!

Also on this Tour

Book Title:  In the Heart of a Mustang by M.J. Evans
Category:  YA Fiction (Ages 13-17),  359 pages
Genre: Contemporary Coming of Age
Publisher:  Dancing Horse Press
Release date:   October, 2017
Content Rating:  PG. Some suggested violence but not explicit

About the Book

A boy is told that his father was a brave and virtuous man, a soldier who traded his life to save the lives of countless others. He was the man that Hunter needed to emulate. The only problem is the whole story is a lie, all of it. The truth, which Hunter discovers as he begins his sophomore year of high school, is that his father has actually spent the boy’s entire life in jail, paying his debt to society, but not mending his ways. A wild mustang mare, is rounded up by the BLM. The spring rains had been sparse, the forage on the plains even more so. The mare and her herd are rescued from certain starvation and placed for adoption. In a sandy corral at Promise Ranch, a home for troubled teenage boys, the boy and the mare meet. A weathered, old cowboy brings them together – a mentor for one, a trainer for the other. The bond that forms between boy and horse becomes one that saves the lives of both.

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Meet the Author

Award-winning author M.J. Evans grew up in Lake Oswego, Oregon. Upon graduation from Oregon State University, she spent five years teaching high school and middle school students. She retired from teaching to raise her five children. Mrs. Evans is a life-long equestrian and enjoys competing in Dressage and riding in the beautiful Colorado mountains. She has published fourteen books, most of which are fiction.

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  1. Thank you for reading and reviewing PINTO! I'm so glad you loved it. It was fun to write. sincerely, M.J. Evans



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