1 Book Reviews: Janie's New Legs
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Book Reviews: Janie's New Legs

"If horses could talk, what would they say? Read one of Diana Tuorto’s books and maybe you’ll find out. If you have ever had a special relationship with a horse, you will love this story. Silver is an abused horse that gets rescued and then finds a new home at a handicapped riding facility. He begins a new life with Pepper, Patches, and Janie, a fragile girl who was paralyzed in a car accident. Janie and Silver quickly develop a special relationship and together the two struggle to put their pasts behind them. With Silver, Janie finds freedom, and with Janie, Silver learns to trust humans again. Read about their adventure; you just might leave with a better understanding of what it’s like to be a horse as well. The sale of Diana’s books also help several non-profit organizations."

-Jowana Lamb of Viola, Delaware is an avid writer and horse lover.

"Janie's New Legs is the second book from Diana Tuorto and it is simply amazing. I couldn't put it down until I had finished it. Like her novel, Luck of the Draw, this story is told from the horse's point of view. Silver is a horse that is taken in by a rescue after living with an abusive owner. He is then adopted out to a farm to work as a therapy horse. It's there that he meets Janie, a little girl confined to a wheelchair after suffering an automobile accident. Silver is able to get Janie to love and share her feelings again. This is a must-read for everyone. I highly recommend all of Diana Tuorto's books."

-Melody Wolfe, Castile, New York

"Being old doesn’t mean you are not useful anymore. Silver, an old pony, had a hard life being neglected and abused by his old owner, but has found new life at Mrs. Johnson’s farm.

Janie was paralyzed in a tragic car accident. Janie has been riding Star all through her therapy. Mrs. Johnson encourages her to try riding Silver. What results is a great relationship between a horse and a girl. The oldest horse on Mrs. Johnson’s farm, Pepper, warns Silver to not get too close to any human. But Silver is 'Janie’s new legs' and chance to experience a little freedom. Like all great friends, they experience sadness and many obstacles. They have their ups and downs. But through it all, they count on each other. They even work together to help save Meadow Brook Farm.

Janie’s New Legs by Diana Tuorto is tremendous book for horse lovers and anyone who loves a great story of endurance of friendship. It makes me thankful I have the use of both of my legs. It makes you more sensitive to the feelings and hardships that handicapped children have to deal with for the rest of their lives."

-Brianne Plach, age 11, on behalf of Reader Views Kids

"I first learned about author Diana Tuorto because she runs Horse Welfare Organizations (http://www.horse-welfare.org), a website that brings together hundreds of non-profit horse rescue organizations from all over the world. I ordered Janie's New Legs simply to support Diana's writing, in appreciation of her devotion to horses.

The story absolutely delights me. It is beautifully written with sensitivity, compassion, and humor. I was drawn into the world that Silver (an abused pony) and Janie (a young girl who is paralyzed from a car accident) share. They have each endured tragic misfortune and together they heal and grow whole.

This is an excellent children's book. Not only is it a persuasive story that will interest children, it is a story that will encourage them to be sympathetic and caring. The lessons of this story are gently shared by showing children the benefits and the goodness of being kind and loving.

I was not surprised to learn that a portion of the proceeds from the book will be given to a handicapped riding center. I already knew this author was generous. After reading Janie's New Legs, I discovered that she is a talented writer too."

-D.B. Pacini, California-based songwriter/vocalist, poet, and author of short stories and two novels, The Loose End of the Rainbow and
Emma's Love Letters. Her website address is www.astarrynightproductions.com.

"Janie’s New Legs presents a sensitive tale of a handicapped child learning to ride on an exceptionally gentle and understanding pony. This author knows whereof she speaks, since she has worked with both children and horses and therefore offers an accurate and inspiring perspective of a situation that would be tragic were it not for kindness, hope, and the cooperative nature of equines.

I recommend this book for all who care for children and their well-being, plus those who appreciate the work and thought that goes into presenting such a riding program. Janie gains pleasure, skills, and self-realization from her experience—and so do we."

-Esther M. Leiper, Poet Laureate, White Mountains Region, Jefferson, New Hampshire

"Janie’s New Legs is a wonderful and touching story of a horse and his bond with a young girl. Both these characters have faced hard times in their lives, but they find comfort, acceptance, and love in their special bond. The whole book is told from the perspective of Silver, an older pony that has recently arrived at Mrs. Johnson's farm. He has been abused and neglected. Janie is a young girl that is confined to a wheelchair after a tragic accident. These two characters are drawn to each other. Their friendship brings both great happiness and difficult challenges into their lives.

Diana Tuorto has vividly brought to life this beautiful story. From the time I was a child, I have always enjoyed a good story about the bond between a child and an animal. One of the things that really struck me about this book was how deeply moving the story is. I felt like I really understood the characters and their emotions. There is a lot of attention to detail and it is obvious that Tuorto is very knowledgeable of horses.

I strongly recommend this book. This story has a valuable lesson for the reader. It demonstrates the redemptive quality of friendship. Ultimately, both Silver and Janie are forever changed and transformed by their friendship. You will be touched by their story."

-Jennifer Rossi, Jersey City, New Jersey

"Diana Tuorto really knows horses. And understands them, in a unique and wholly symbiotic fashion, too. It must be the reason why she seems to be able to get inside the head of a horse and can tell a compelling tale in a voice which seems honest and real. And consistently equine. Ms. Tuorto possesses a true gift, where horses and writing are concerned.

Janie’s New Legs, Ms. Tuorto’s second novel and third book, is another poignant, but ultimately heartwarming venture into the special world of rescue horses, but in this case, it’s about those who are paired with disabled children to give them both a sense of independent purpose and of freedom, and for the child, ‘new legs.’

When the story begins, Janie is a withdrawn young girl who bears physical and emotional scars due to a tragic automobile accident which killed her father and left her partially paralyzed and wheelchair-ridden. Silver is an abused and malnourished horse who finally has been given a safe haven and a loving home at the farm of Mrs. Johnson. Mrs. Johnson employs her twin daughters and her rescued horses as therapists for the children who need their services.

Janie and Silver become fast friends, and through this friendship, find a way to heal themselves and each other. They learn and grow together in many ways, through a number of suspenseful adventures over the course of 10 years. For example, in one episode, Janie urges Silver to head off the farm for a more exciting ride. Once they arrive in some nearby woods, they are set upon by some bigoted and rude bullies. It’s a scary moment, but Silver takes on the mantle of protector and proceeds to defend Janie from these awful brats.

Ms. Tuorto has cleverly shown all this and more through the eyes of Silver, the narrator of the tale. By making his story so intimate, readers will surely feel their bond, too—as well as become fascinated with the intertwined stories of the other horses in the stable: Pepper, the sensitive, wise old horse; Star, the haughty, former show horse; and Patches, the small, sweet pony—and also, of the children who come to the farm to connect with them.

Although this book is intended for children ages 8 to 14, I felt immediately drawn into the story and its characters. So did my eight-year-old daughter. We cheered for Janie and Silver’s successes. We got teary over certain parts of the story, too, which I won’t give away here. (You’ll just have to read it!) But to me, this is the hallmark of a good storyteller—an author who can pen a timeless piece which appeals to readers of all ages. Janie’s New Legs is surely destined to become a classic, rounding out the ‘horse’ collections on any bookshelf with the likes of National Velvet, Misty of Chincoteague, and Black Beauty.

There is one other thing I would like to add: by experiencing Janie’s New Legs, readers might just get enough personal awareness and understanding to encourage them to find out more about places like Mrs. Johnson’s farm, and thus get active and involved."

-Randi Clarken is a New Jersey-based poet/author. In 2008, Randi released her first poetry anthology, Mugging for the Camera.

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