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Reviewed by Jack Magnus for Readers' Favorite
Mickey and the Plow Horse is a coming of age story for preteens and young adults written by Edward A. Dreyfus, Ph.D. Mickey had asthma, and his life seemed to center around the things he couldn't do. While he was gifted in working with computers and was busy having adventures in video games and books, he wasn't interested in rough and tumble outdoor games with other kids his age. His asthma also kept him sidelined for many competitive sports and games. He was happy, however, just sitting and reading or playing a game. His parents were concerned about their son and his solitary existence. Mickey was twelve years old and hadn't really experienced much of the outside world at all. It was time, they figured, he got away from them and the comforts and confines of home. So, they signed him up for summer camp. Mickey was horrified at the concept and begged them to reconsider their plan, but finally the three of them worked out a compromise. Mickey would commit to two weeks at camp. If he wanted to leave at that point, his folks would come and pick him up -- but they were both hoping he'd want to stay.
Edward A. Dreyfus' young adult and preteen coming of age story, Mickey and the Plow Horse, is a profoundly moving and inspirational tale about an asthmatic young man whose outlook on life is drastically changed in the course of a summer. Mickey is both outraged and terrified by his parents' insistence on his going to summer camp. He's learned to work within his limitations, and he does quite well without having close friends. As he queues up for the bus, he's got his headphones, iPod and iPad as reading, online games and music are what he'll need to keep him sane for the next two weeks. But things develop in all sorts of unexpected ways, starting with Sam, the blonde karate-girl-fighter who becomes his first best friend; Brian, the friend who shows him the ropes at camp; and Jackson, the camp's plow horse who shares more than one bond with him.
I loved vicariously living Mickey and his friends' experiences in camp and found myself wishing once again that I had been sent to camp as a child. Dreyfus' writing is compelling and easy to get lost in. His plot is superb, the kind of feel-good story that makes you want to stand up and cheer at the end, that deserves to be made into a film. Mickey and the Plow Horse demonstrates what dreams can be achieved if one dares, especially if there's a guiding force or two ready to help make the magic happen. It's most highly recommended.