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Reviewed by Mamta Madhavan for Readers' Favorite
Meet Joy the horse in the story Unbridled Joy by Beth Stewart. Joy dislikes the saddle but a bridle is even worse. Joy's owner, Mr. Rangle, puts the bridle around Joy's head and tightens it to go for a ride. Though Joy sways his head, Mr. Rangle does not pay any attention. Though Joy tries to turn his head in the direction he wants to go, Mr. Rangle does not let him do it. As they go riding on the range, Joy spots a wild mustang running free. Now that is what Joy wants, to be free and not bridled. In the stable he whinnies to Roscoe, who is in the next stall, and tells him about his wish to be free. Roscoe is happy being there and he is happy that they are taken care of, fed well, and given a good life with good friends there. Joy makes up his mind to escape. Will Joy be able to escape and be happy?
The story is about finding joy in what you have instead of searching for it outside, just how Joy does in the story. The character of Joy is relatable and there will be many readers who will be able to connect with Joy; being dissatisfied with what they have in life and being on the lookout for greener pastures. The illustrations are lovely, bright and colorful, and they give clarity to what the author is trying to convey to young readers. It is a good storybook for bedtime storytelling and can be used for read aloud and storytelling sessions in classrooms and school libraries.