Longtime Hillsboro resident Donna Alice Patton has written a new ranch-themed book for children, just in time for summer reading.
Twelve-year-old Bridget Benedict has a “serious” disease – horse fever. She wears cowboy boots and a bandana. She’s read just about every book on horses ever written. She’s seen all the reruns of “Bonanza,” “Ponderosa” and “The Rifleman.” When it comes to horses, she can tell you anything you want to know.
Well, almost, but not quite. Because Benedict, a first-time camper at Rawhide Ranch, has a secret she must guard at all costs. Although she is horse crazy, she has never actually been on a horse. In fact, horses scare the bejeebers out of her. But now she needs to hide her awful secret from her new friend Gianna, her new diary-stealing enemy Vivi, and all the other campers and counselors. Not to mention that her parents are expecting to see her ride in the horse show at the end of camp week.
“Saddle Up” is a charming story about making friends, telling the truth, and facing our fears, important lessons for every young cowpoke. Everyone faces these same issues. Parents and children can read this book together and discuss what it means to be a true friend and live with integrity.
“Saddle Up,” though fiction, is set at Rawhide Ranch, near San Diego. Rawhide offers summer and winter camps that train kids in riding, caring for animals, shooting, archery – traditional skills of the Old West – along with more contemporary activities like swimming and crafts.
Patton, the book’s author, is a lot like Bridget – a lover of horses and all things Western. Patton has written two other books for children: “The Search for the Madonna” and “Snipped in the Bud,” along with novels for adults: a mystery, “Roses Are Red, Diamonds Are Blue,” and a paranormal Western, “Christmas, Interrupted.” Patton’s books for children, while sometimes dealing with serious issues, are always written with gentle humor and good moral values.
Patty Krylach is one of three former authors of The Times-Gazette feature Cookies and Milk, along with Donna Patton and Maribeth Uralrith.