About the author
Louise Moeri (b.1924) was born in Oregon, and grew up during the Great Depression. When she was two, the family moved back to the family ranch, though this was now dry and unproductive, not the green place her grandfather had first homesteaded. When her father didn’t need the horse, she and her brother rode to school; otherwise they walked several miles each way. When Louise was ten, the government declared the land sub-marginal, purchased the ranch, and returned it to open rangeland. The family then ricocheted from one ranch to another.
Louise went to the University of California at Berkeley, graduating with a liberal arts degree which didn’t fit her for anything much. She worked at a succession of jobs until she managed to find one in a library. There she met her first ever children’s books, and decided to try writing them. After all, she thought, some of them only needed 100 words. Unfortunately, they had to be the right 100 words. However, she persevered, and wrote several gritty and realistic stories during the 1970s. Solveig, her heroine in A Horse for XYZ, is certainly gritty; not the most immediately attractive character, but her story sucks you in and Louise Moeri makes you care what happens to her.
Literary fashions change, and Louise Moeri does not write fantasy, so she started to write gritty books for adults instead.
Finding the books
Both books are easy to find, and not generally expensive. Neither was published in the UK.
Bibliography (horse books only)
A Horse for X.Y.Z.
Dutton, New York, 1977, 98 pp, illus Gail Owens
Scholastic, 1977, 1990
Solveig is determined to get a ride on the Quarter Horse Snake Dancer she wasn’t allowed to ride at camp, so she sneaks off the bus taking all the students home so that she
can get that ride. She gets her wish, but she also finds out that she is not the only person who wants Dancer.
the Devil in Ol’ Rosie
Atheneum, New York, 2001, 202 pp
Thorndike Press, large print edition
Rosie, the ranch’s most troublesome mare, has escaped, and taken most of the ranch horses with her. 12-year-old Wart sets off, alone on a lame horse, to find the horses so his family can still work the ranch. His father can’t help as his mother is about to give birth. Wart’s trip is filled with adventure. Set in Oregon in the early years of the 20th century.