Ponies, ponies, ponies


American  Horse Books Home

Betty Levin

A Binding Spell

F Dutton, New York, 1984, 179 pp

Lodestar 1984, cover Elise Primavera


Wren senses life stirring the first time she enters the barn, but then strange things start happening
at the farm, where she and her brothers are staying. An animal shatters a window, a white mist
forms itself into the shape of a horse, and hoofprints mark sheets dragged off the clothes line. The
mysterious horse has something to do with Axel, an old man who lives in a nearby boarded up
house. Wren befriends Axel, and eventually uncovers the secret of the horse.

Gift Horse

Greenwillow Books, New York, 1996, 168 pp, illus Jos A. Smith

Scholastic, pb

Matt’s great uncle promises to send him a horse, but when it appears, it turns life upside down.
His parents don’t think he can keep the horse, but Matt is determined, and joins with his brother
and friends to outwit the grown-ups. Eventually everyone is involved in trying to help Matt save
his horse.

Betty Levin is best known for her fantasy stories. She was the only animal lover in her family, and after a visit to a sheep farm at the age of 11, discovered the magic of working collies. After she married, she and her husband Alvin bought a sheep farm, and Betty bred and trained working sheepdogs, which she took to trials. Her stories often involve animals, though only two are horse stories. When she was a child, she stayed on a farm with her family during holidays, and met an Irish girl called Kitty. Kitty told her tales of Irish myths, and these formed the basis for several of Betty Levin’s books.

Betty Levin taught at the Center for the Study of Children’s Literature at Simmons College in Boston, is married and has three daughters.

Finding the books: both books are reasonably easy to find. Neither title was published in the UK.

Links and sources

Dustjacket of A Binding Spell

More biographical information on Betty Levin

Many thanks to Susan Bourgeau for all her help with this section.

Bibliography - horse books only