The Gift

Children - Grade 4th-6th
62 Pages
Reviewed on 09/25/2015
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Author Biography

I am a master's level licensed marriage and family therapist with twenty-two years of experience working with children and their families. Currently, I work at Spirit Reins as a clinician and clinical supervisor. In my work with young children and their families I often write or tell therapeutic stories to facilitate the healing process. "The Gift" was born out of my love for horses and the beauty of their friendship.

    Book Review

Reviewed by Anne-Marie Reynolds for Readers' Favorite

The Gift by Rebecca J Hubbard is a story of the trials of friendship. Eleven-year-old Pip just wants a friend. For her birthday, her dad buys her a colt and Pip thinks that they will be friends straightaway. She is angry and disappointed that Buck doesn’t seem to want to be her friend. In fact, he keeps running away from her. Her dad helps her to understand that friendship doesn’t come that easily and helps her to understand how to make Buck her friend. Buck has his own story to tell. He spent the first three years of his life with a large herd, but finds himself lonely and friendless when he moves to Pip’s house. He wants to feel safe but doesn’t understand how a human can help him. Together Buck and Pip must learn the true meaning of friendship.

The Gift by Rebecca J Hubbard was a nice story. It was unique, being told in two halves, first from Pip’s point of view and then from Buck’s. The way the story is written will appeal to children of all ages and some will even find the second half funny, with some of the descriptions that Buck uses to describe Pip! I liked the addition of the illustrations as they help to bring it to life. There are also a few lessons in life for children to learn here, about how to make true friendships. It was a good move on the author’s part to write the story in two parts, from two points of view, as it shows children that there are always two sides to everything, two viewpoints from which to see a situation. Nice book, well written, and I highly recommend it.

Julia Hopkinson

The Gift is a warm, touching, and edifying book for children written by Rebecca J. Hubbard and illustrated by Krickett King. The story centres on Pip, a young farm girl, whose dad buys her a dream eleventh birthday present – a horse – and her efforts to coax and befriend the horse that she names Buck. The book is split into two parallel parts: the first told from Pip’s point of view – a tale of hope then frustration as her earnest attempts to bond with the horse are not met with immediate success; and the second from Buck’s point of view – his tale of arriving in a new place and initially missing his old friends and being frightened by Pip’s advances, before they manage to find a common ground of friendship. The book is complemented by lovely black and white illustrations every few pages.

Rebecca J. Hubbard’s The Gift is a great way to teach children not just about the complexities and subtleties of building friendships, but also the importance of carefully building any relationship with pets and/or animals. I felt quite sorry for both Pip (when she is thwarted in her initial struggles to play with the horse) and Buck (when he is taken from his friends and family and is lonely in his new home, despite being very much wanted) at various points in the story, but was cheered and heartened by hopefulness of the twin endings. Krickett King’s illustrations are both charming and appropriate, and greatly enhance the book. Recommended.

Jack Magnus

The Gift is an animal story for children and preteens written by Rebecca Hubbard and illustrated by Krickett King. Pip had always wanted a horse, and then for her eleventh birthday, her dream came true. There in the pasture, a brown colt was grazing on the grass. She excitedly called out to him and then climbed up on the fence to see him more clearly, thinking he’d come over to meet her, but he just continued grazing. Pip was upset and hurt -- why did he just ignore her like that? She stomped off into the house which made her dad wonder what was wrong. The colt was also a bit confused by the whole situation. He had just been taken from his home where he'd had other young horses to play with, and now he was in a strange place and all alone. The girl by the fence was making high-pitched noises that made him nervous, and he wasn't sure what to do about her. While he was lonely, he still loved eating the fresh green grass in the pasture, and maybe his friends would be arriving soon, and she would go away.

Rebecca Hubbard's animal story for children and preteens, The Gift, presents the meeting of a young girl, Pip, and Buck, her new horse friend, through the perspectives of each of them, and it works wonderfully. I enjoyed following Pip as she figures out how to behave around her new friend, and loved the support and comments her father would make as she works things out. Reading Buck's take on things afterwards builds a whole new dimension to the tale as the reader learns a bit about how horses react to people and differentiates the dangers they're genetically programmed to respond to. Krickett King's illustrations are a brilliant fit for the story and show the growing friendship between horse and girl perfectly. The Gift is highly recommended for horse lovers of all ages.

Jane Finch

The Gift, written by Rebecca J. Hubbard and illustrated by Krickett King, is the story of a young girl named Pip and a colt named Buck. The young horse goes to live with Pip, but is very frightened of his new surroundings and being taken away from the herd. Pip doesn’t understand this at first and thinks the colt doesn’t like her. Gradually both the horse and girl start to understand each other. Pip learns how to gain the colt’s trust, and Buck realises that the girl does not plan to hurt him. Although he is missing his horse friends, Buck finally understands that Pip can also be a friend.

This is a lovely story for young readers, and delightful in its simplicity. Rebecca J. Hubbard has done a very good job of explaining about friendship, and how one has to work at it and not expect it to happen without a bit of effort on both parts. But this is also a story about loneliness. Starting with Pip’s version, the story then examines the events from the horse’s perspective. This story is about understanding, companionship, patience, and love. Although the story can be likened to human relationships, it’s also about understanding animals and how to gain their trust and love. It’s a good life lesson that friendship and trust have to be earned. Giving the story from both the human aspect and the animal aspect is especially endearing. Apart from the life lessons to be learned, young horse lovers will empathise with this tale. Very nicely done.

Maria Beltran

The Gift by Rebecca Hubbard is a charming children’s book in which eleven-year-old Pip yearns for a horse. She was extremely delighted when her father presented her with one on her birthday. Things are not going the way she likes though, because her horse moves away whenever she approaches. The first few days are very frustrating for Pip because she thinks that Buck, the name she gives her horse, seems uninterested in being friends with her. Guided by her father, she sets out to gain Buck’s friendship, day by day. Young Buck, on the other hand, is separated for the first time from the other horses and it feels different to be in another environment. Lonely and scared, he also longs for a friend, but finds Pip to be a strange creature. Will the two eventually become friends?

Rebecca Hubbard’s The Gift is a children’s book that educates and entertains. It also teaches its readers a thing or two about making friends. Little girl Pip dreams of having a horse as a best friend and is elated when she gets Buck. Thinking that they will become the best of friends immediately, she finds out that she has to gain Buck’s trust before anything else, and this takes time and determination. Beautifully illustrated by Krickett King, the story is first told from Pip’s point of view and then switching to Buck’s, giving readers a glimpse of what is going on in both their minds as they interact. Perfectly written for 4th to 6th graders, The Gift also shows that friendship entails sensitivity and patience, and these are precious lessons that many adults can also learn from.