Thursday, January 16, 2014

Children's Book Review: Ima and The Great Texas Ostrich Race by Margaret McManis

Ima & the Great Texas Ostrich Race

Author: Margaret McManis
Illustrator: Bruce Dupree

Publisher: Eakin Press

Date: September 1, 2003

About The Author
Margaret McManis is a retired school librarian and a children's book author. She loves interesting characters in history and hopes to introduce kids to fascinating people like Miss Ima Hogg.

"Girl, You've Got Mettle!"
This is a fictionalized account of the life of young Ima Hogg, the daughter of Governor James Hogg of Texas.

The story is told from a first-person perspective and tells about a crazy race between Ima and her two brothers. Ima is riding her ostrich named Ossy and her brothers are riding their fastest quarter horses.

Ima's father encourages Ima by saying, "Girl, you've got mettle!" She remembers these words as she climbs on Ossy's back and confidently begins her attempt to show her brothers that she indeed has "mettle."

My Thoughts
Ima Hogg was a real person and became widely known for supporting the arts, historical preservation and mental health programs. Ima was eight years old when her father was elected governor of Texas in 1890. Their home was filled with famous people and exotic animals, including two ostriches named Jack and Jill.

The author exhibits her marvelous imagination by taking these facts and creating a picture book that children will find fascinating and hilarious. This book will wet children's curiosity about this period in Texas history and the captivating world of ostriches.

I especially like the way Ima's father encourages her and uses the word "mettle"
to describe her. The word "mettle" means courage, valor, vigor and ardor. These are wonderful words for young women to treasure and live by.

The color illustrations add a great deal to the humor in this book. Mr. Dupree did an excellent job capturing the heart of the story.

This book was published over ten years ago but I honestly believe it should have a permanent place in your children's book collection. I hope the author will make this book available in digital format so a new generation of techie children can enjoy Ima and her antics!

My Rating: 5 Stars Out of 5

FYI ~ I checked out a print copy of this book from my local public library.

Please share your thoughts in the Comments Section below.

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