The Blue Roan Child

 /   /  By Emma Birches
Stone Soup Magazine
May/June 2005

By Jamieson Findlay, Reviewed by Reina Gattuso

The Blue Roan Child book cover

The Blue Roan Child by Jamieson Findlay;
Scholastic, Inc.: New York, 2oo4; $16.95

Imagine this: you are an orphan and you work in a horse stable owned by Kind Hulvere. A fierce wild horse and her two colts are brought to the stable. Then the two colts are stolen. It is now up to you, with the help of the wild horse, to save her colts from the powerful Lord Ran. Are you up to the challenge?

Well, Syeira was! With nothing but the shirt on her back and the wild horse Arwin she set off to save the colts. Along the way, she and Arwin meet many friends, a few dangerous foes, and tons of adventure!

When I first looked at this book, I knew I was going to enjoy it because it was about horses. I have been riding horses for about six years and I love horses and horse books. After the first few pages I was hooked, because The Blue Roan Child combined horses with mystery, magic, adventure, and wonderful writing.

One of my favorite parts is when Syeira and Arwin have to travel through the Forest of Deire. In it they meet a man named Sir Gemynd who drinks a concoction made out of a plant called Pale Madeleine. The Pale Madeleine makes him live in memories. Syeira eats some of this memory plant and she sees her mother’s little yellow bird and hears her mother weeping. But she can’t find her mother, and the bird disappears. They are lost with the Pale Madeleine. They are lost in the past.

That part made me think.. What would it be like to stop living in the present and live only in memories? If I was Syeira, would I be tempted to try some Pale Madeleine? Would Syeira ever be the same? I could understand why Syeira would want to eat the Pale Madeleine. She longed for the mother she could barely remember. That made me think about how lucky I am to have both of my parents alive today. I have never felt anything like Syeira’s yearning for her mother, and I am thankful. Even so, the Pale Madeleine was not good. It made Syeira sick and delayed her from her mission. To me, Pale Madeleine symbolizes temptation to do what’s wrong. Even though doing the wrong thing might seem fun or easy at the time, it will always come back to hurt you and will distract you from what you need to do.

In this story you can see all sorts of symbols. For instance, I think the yellow bird is a symbol of Syeira’s mother’s love. It gives Syeira strength and courage. Flying horses also appear in this book. I think they are a symbol of Syeira’s dreams, and when they fly to attack King Ran’s city, Syeira’s dreams are flying along with them. The Weerlings, horses damaged by war, represent how horrible war really is. And Arwin. Arwin was Syeira’s way out of a lonely childhood. I think she is a symbol of the type of freedom one can only have galloping on a horse, flying as if you were riding one of Syeira’s dreams.

The Blue Roan Child has a satisfying ending in which Syeira finds out what she is meant to do with her life. Everything adds up to a believable and involving story that will draw you in. I loved The Blue Roan Child, and I definitely recommend it to anyone who likes horses, adventure, or just plain good stories.

The Blue Roan Child Reina Gattuso

Reina Gattuso, 12
Milford, New Jersey

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