Cover image for Mrs. Mack
Mrs. Mack
Polacco, Patricia.
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
New York : Philomel Books, [1998]

Physical Description:
38 pages : color illustrations ; 27 cm
The author remembers the summer when she was ten years old and staying with her father in Michigan where she took riding lessons and became best friends with a perfect horse.
Reading Level:
610 Lexile.
Program Information:
Accelerated Reader AR LG 4.0 1.0 25861.

Reading Counts RC 3-5 2.8 4 Quiz: 21667 Guided reading level: P.
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
X Juvenile Fiction Open Shelf
X Juvenile Fiction Open Shelf
X Juvenile Fiction Open Shelf
X Juvenile Fiction Picture Books
X Juvenile Fiction Open Shelf
X Juvenile Fiction Open Shelf

On Order



Patricia has waited all of her ten years for this summer -- she is finally going to learn to ride a horse! But when her father drives her to a shabby stable in run-down Dogpatch, she can't believe her eyes. The tough-looking kids and scary old man next door don't help. How can she ride here? Then along comes Mrs. Mack with her snakeskin boots and big Southern smile. She knows everything about horses -- and kids. And, sure enough, Pat learns more than she ever imagined -- not just about horses, but people too.Patricia Polacco shares a story of her childhood hero in this tribute to a woman who knew that working with and riding horses could test young people, and change them in remarkable ways.

Author Notes

Patricia Polacco was born in Lansing, Michigan on July 11, 1944. She attended Oakland Tech High School in Oakland, California before heading off to the California College of Arts and Crafts in Oakland, then Laney Community College in Oakland. She then set off for Monash University, Mulgrave, Australia and the Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology, Melbourne, Australia where she received a Ph.D in Art History, Emphasis on Iconography.

After college, she restored ancient pieces of art for museums. She didn't start writing children's books until she was 41 years old. She began writing down the stories that were in her head, and was then encouraged to join the Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators. There she learned how to put together a dummy and get a story into the form of a children's picture book. Her mother paid for a trip to New York, where the two visited 16 publishers in one week. She submitted everything she had to more than one house. By the time she returned home the following week, she had sold just about everything.

Polacco has won the 1988 Sydney Taylor Book Award for The Keeping Quilt, and the 1989 International Reading Association Award for Rechenka's Eggs. She was inducted into the Author's Hall of Fame by the Santa Clara Reading Council in 1990, and received the Commonwealth Club of California's Recognition of Excellence that same year for Babushka's Doll, and again in 1992 for Chicken Sunday. She also won the Golden Kite Award for Illustration from the Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators for Chicken Sunday in 1992, as well as the Boston Area Educators for Social Responsibility Children's Literature and Social Responsibility Award. In 1993, she won the Jane Adams Peace Assoc. and Women's Intl. League for Peace and Freedom Honor award for Mrs. Katz and Tush for its effective contribution to peace and social justice. She has won Parent's Choice Honors for Some Birthday in 1991, the video Dream Keeper in 1997 and Thank You Mr. Falker in 1998. In 1996, she won the Jo Osborne Award for Humor in Children's Literature. Her titles The Art of Miss. Chew and The Blessing Cup made The New York Times Best Seller List.

(Bowker Author Biography)

Reviews 3

Booklist Review

Ages 5^-9. As in most of her previous works, such as the recent Thank You, Mr. Falker [BKL My 1 98], Polacco mines the gold from her past history and tells truthful, simple stories about life-changing moments and people in the life of a child. The Mrs. Mack of the title is the woman who gave horse-loving young Polacco the chance to work around horses, to learn to ride, and to build a relationship with one special horse, "beautiful Copper Penny." She also gave Polacco the opportunity to discover in herself the grit to persevere against skeptical older kids, skittish horses, and the sadness of separation. Polacco uses her characteristic pencil sketches filled in with warm colors to depict her characters, who come across with down-to-earth realism suffused with tenderness. Like many an animal story before it, this one guarantees a tear or two, and at the end Polacco tells what happened to Penny and to all the people we have come to know. --Susan Dove Lempke

Publisher's Weekly Review

PW called this story of a 10-year-old girl whose father decides she is old enough to ride a horse "inviting. The drawings convey the emotions of each scene, adding emphasis to pivotal points." Ages 4-8. (Jan.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

School Library Journal Review

Gr 3-4-Another striking reminiscence from Polacco's childhood. This book relates the events of the author's 10th summer when she was taught horseback riding by the rough-and-ready Mrs. Mack. The narrative describes the bonds that formed between Patricia, a mare named Penny, and the residents of Dogpatch, a neighborhood in Lansing, MI. The realistic illustrations are in true Polacco form-pencil outlines selectively filled with watercolors. The artist has even treated her fans to two double-page spreads at critical junctures in the text. In appearance this is a picture book, but there are many full pages of text. Highest interest would lie with middle elementary horse lovers, but the format may discourage them from borrowing it. It would, however, lend itself nicely as a read-aloud for this age level. A touching story filled with loving detail.-Christy Norris Blanchette, Valley Cottage Library, NY (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.