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Jessie Haas's
Mounting Block to Reading

Short people need mounting blocks to get onto tall horses. Young people who don't love to read need easy, interesting books to help them get onto the fast horse called Reading.
Over the years, many of my books have been that mounting block.

Horse stories often appeal to girls who are having difficulty with reading. Many boys like them too.
“I never thought I could learn to love reading,” one fourth grade boy told the school librarian, “and then I found my Radish.” He was hugging the library copy of Runaway Radish.

Read in the right order, my books can help a child overcome that left-out feeling, and discover that reading is fun. From there it's only a short step to anything that child wants to learn or experience. Reading is freedom, community, adventure, and a great consolation in times of solitude. There's nothing that feels better than helping a kid over the hump, into that happy land.

What to read first

Bramble and Maggie, Horse Meets Girl
Bramble, an opinionated lesson horse, gets a girl of her own, horse-loving Maggie.

Bramble and Maggie, Give and Take
Bramble adjusts to life in the suburbs. She and Maggie learn that neither one should be the boss all the time. There should be some give and take.

Bramble and Maggie, Spooky Season
Autumn makes Bramble spooky, and soon Maggie is scared too. Why do they call it 'Fall'? Halloween brings its own perils, and its sweet triumph.

What They Are

52 page early reader chapter books, with full-color illustrations on every page.

Who They're For

Newly independent readers, age 5-8

Support Materials

A free curriculum guide covering all three books. Download on my home page.

Where to Find Them

Order at your local bookstore or online, or find at your public library.

Also in paperback


A Junior Library Guild Selection

"...hits all the right notes." Kirkus

"The narrative voice in this early chapter book is superb—direct, succinct, and easy to read for younger horse lovers, but slyly slanted conceptually to encompass both horse and human perspectives." The Horn Book

"...will instantly find an audience." Library Media Connection

"...expressive, colorful gouache artwork on every page." SLJ

"An engaging horse story for young chapter-book readers and a good read-aloud choice as well." Booklist

A Bank Street Best Book 2013

Bramble is bored with giving riding lessons. When she goes on strike, Mrs. Blenkinsop decides she needs a person of her own. Good idea--but not just any person. Bramble knows she'll have to be picky.
When horse-crazy Maggie meets Bramble, she isn't picky at all. "Bramble is the horse for me," she says. But can Maggie live up to Bramble's high standards? Can Maggie reassure Bramble about the strange new creatures in a suburban back yard? An easy chapter book, with full-color illustrations by Alison Friend. (Candlewick, 2012, 52 pgs.)

Second grade reading level.
"...a perfect choice for kids ready to move beyond picture books...Bramble and Maggie are sure to become favorites for both storytime and reading alone." ABookAndAGarden.com, March 29, 2012
"An engaging horse story for young chapter-book readers and a good read-aloud choice as well." Booklist
"This finely crafted story about building trust and friendship is gently infused with information about equine care, and filled with expressive, colorful gouache artwork on every page." SLJ
"There are few horse stories written in early chapter book form and this will instantly find an audience." Library Media Connection.
"The narrative voice in this early chapter book is superb--direct, succinct, and easy to read for younger horse lovers, but slyly slanted conceptually to encompass both horse and human perspectives." Anita L. Burkam, The Horn Book

a Junior Library Guild selection

"Bramble knew about rides. The rider sat in the saddle. The horse did all the work."
Bramble and Maggie negotiate, and come to an arrangement that seems more fair. All that's required is a little give and take.

"...more intriguing insights into the horse's mind. Portraying human and animal characters empathetically, the narrative features moments of humor as well as insight...highly satisfying...Booklist
"Haas combines realistic horse adventures and grade school pony love like no one else. Bramble is sassy but never scary; Maggie persistent and cheerful, but not all-knowing." Kirkus
"Bramble...has strong opinions and dry wit: "Bramble knew about rides. The rider sat in the saddle. The horse did all the hard work." For new readers gaining confidence, the simple sentences are peppered with more challenging vocabulary, and they build in complexity over the course of the book." Julie Roach, The Horn Book.

Halloween and horses--sweet!

In autumn the leaves scritch, acorns bomb the rooftops, and even smart horses like Bramble get a little spooky--which makes riders like Maggie a little tense. Did you ever wonder why they call it "Fall?" And then comes Halloween, with even more fears, real and pretend.

"This well-crafted horse story explores the theme of friendship and facing fears for those getting ready to move on from early readers." Kirkus

"As warm, affectionate and amusing as the story, Friend's gouache illustrations have a charm all their own." Booklist Online

A Junior Library Guild Selection

What to Read Next

Runaway Radish
Radish is a feisty pony who raises Judy, and teaches her to be brave. When Judy outgrows him, he moves on to Nina. But girls always outgrow ponies, and Radish needs a forever home.

Birthday Pony
Popcorn and Jane were born on the same day, many miles apart. Obviously they were meant for each other, but Jane is small and far away, and Popcorn needs a rider. So Grandma Aggie sells him. By the time Popcorn and Jane are finally united, Popcorn has learned some bad habits.

Jigsaw Pony
Jigsaw is a black and white pony who lives in a weedy pasture. Every day the mailman gives him an apple—and one day his owner gives Jigsaw to the mailman, for his twin daughters. Fran and Kiera don't agree about anything, but they do agree that Jig is perfect. But why won't he jump? Why won't he canter? It turns out that Jigsaw is too old to do many things the girls want, but he is still the perfect pony.

What They Are

chapter books, with black and white illustrations.
Runaway Radish, 56 pages, illustrations on every page
Birthday Pony, 80 pages, spot illustrations
Jigsaw Pony 128 pages, spot illustrations

Who They're For

Newly independent readers age 7 and up.

Where to Find Them

Runaway Radish—your public library
Birthday Pony—your public library
Jigsaw Pony—order at your independent bookstore, online, or www.jessiehaas.com.

Horn Book Fanfare, BCCB Blue Ribbon

"When Radish was a round, red, bouncy young pony, his little girl's name was Judy.
Before he got Judy, Radish lived on a big pony farm. He ran and played with the other ponies. He learned to go fast. He learned to think for himself.
A trainer taught Radish to let himself be ridden. She was a good rider. Radish had to do whatever she wanted.
Then Judy's parents came to the farm. "We want a pony for our little girl," Judy's father said.
"Radish is my best pony," said the trainer. "He's smart and he's brave. But he does have a mind of his own."
"So does Judy," said Judy's mother, and they brought Radish home to be Judy's pony.

Feisty Radish teaches Judy to be brave, and Nina to be careful. But girls always outgrow ponies. Can Radish find a forever home where his talents will be appreciated"

Illustrations by Margot Apple

Popcorn and Jane were meant for each other, but fate has other plans for each of them. When they finally get together, Popcorn has become a spoiled and difficult pony, and Jane needs some lessons in bravery from the best teacher of all, Radish.

Gryphon AwardHonor Book

Twins Fran and Keira can't agree on anything. Is Jigsaw a black pony with white patches, or a white pony with black blotches? Should they ride him English or Western? Jumping or barrel racing?
Jigsaw is game to try anything, but he has a secret, and when they learn it, the twins finally find the one thing they agree on.

What to Read After That

Beware the Mare When Gramp brings a little mare home for Lily, she seems perfect. But why is she named Beware? Gramp checks her out thoroughly, but it's Lily who finally finds the answer to the mystery.
A Blue for Beware Lily and Beware compete in a local horse show. Lily discovers how difficult it is to compete against your best friend, when you both want blue ribbons.
Be Well, Beware Beware is very sick, and Lily works with the vet to save her life.
Beware and Stogie After a big storm wrecks the fence, Gramp's animals get out. Everyone comes back except the wild black horse, Stogie, so Lily sets out on Beware to find him.

What They Are

Simple horse stories with large print, and black and white illustrations.
Beware the Mare, 64 pages, 6 chapters
A Blue for Beware, 66 pages, 10 chapters
Be Well, Beware, 66 pages, 10 chapters
Beware and Stogie, 79 pages, 9 chapters

Who They're For

Beginning chapter readers age 8 and up

Where to Find Them

Your public library
E-book editions available at online bookstores or at Openroadmedia.com
Beware the Mare (paper) and Beware and Stogie, www.jessiehaas.com

The paperback, with illustrations by Martha Haas

Beware the Mare

When horsedealer Gramp brings the little bay mare home, she seems perfect for Lily. But why is she called Beware? Gramp is determined to find out before he turns the horse over to Lily, but in the end it's Lily who solves the mystery.

Also available in ebook format.

In e-book format from Open Road Integrated Media

Beware doesn't come in from the pasture one day, and Lily discovers that she is very sick. A long day and night of nursing her and working with the vet leads, finally, to a happy ending.

e-book edition from Open Road Integrated Media

Lily takes Beware to the local horse show. But it's complicated showing against your best friend, when things don't go well, and even more so when they do.