Cover image for Gib rides home
Gib rides home
Snyder, Zilpha Keatley.
Personal Author:
[Large print edition].
Publication Information:
Waterville, ME : Thorndike Press, 2002.

Physical Description:
309 pages ; 23 cm
Despite the harsh treatment he has endured at the Lovell House Home for Orphaned and Abandoned Boys, eleven-year-old Gib Whittaker manages to maintain his hopeful outlook when he is "farmed out" to help with the horses of a wealthy banker in 1908.
Program Information:
Accelerated Reader AR MG 6.3 9.0 25056.
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
X Juvenile Large Print Central Closed Stacks

On Order


Author Notes

Zilpha Keatley Snyder was born in Lemoore, California on May 11, 1927. She received a B.A. from Whittier College in 1948. While ultimately planning to be a writer, after graduation she decided to teach school temporarily. However, she found teaching to be an extremely rewarding experience and taught in the upper elementary grades for a total of nine years. After all of her children were in school, she began to think of writing again.

Her first book, Season of Ponies, was published in 1964. She wrote more than 40 books during her lifetime including The Trespassers, Gib Rides Home, Gib and the Gray Ghost, and William's Midsummer Dreams. She has won numerous awards including three Newbery Honor books for The Egypt Game, The Headless Cupid and The Witches of Worm and the 1995 John and Patricia Beatty Award for Cat Running. She died of complications from a stroke on October 08, 2014 at the age of 87.

(Bowker Author Biography)

Reviews 3

Booklist Review

Gr. 5^-8. Snyder's take on the orphan tale is rooted in her father's stories of his childhood in a Nebraska orphanage, where a boy was more likely to be farmed out to perform grueling menial tasks than he was to be adopted. Gib Whittaker's calm, steadfast personality helps him survive both the petty meanness and larger cruelties of living in the Lovell House Home for Orphaned and Abandoned Boys. When he is sent to the well-to-do Thornton family, his life improves considerably. Even though he works from dawn to dusk, he still has the opportunity to discover an inborn love of horses, to learn more about his own circumstances, and to see firsthand the tensions and compromises of family life. Deft pacing and characterization, along with a background rich in sensory detail (as in most orphan stories, food plays an especially important role), make this a touching, satisfying tribute to Snyder's father and to all children who face difficult lives with courage. --Susan Dove Lempke

Publisher's Weekly Review

In a starred review of this story about an orphan growing up in Nebraska at the turn of the century, PW predicted that readers "will want to devour this meaty novel in one long stretch." Ages 9-12. (Sept.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

School Library Journal Review

Gr 4-8‘Gib is six when he arrives at an orphanage in the early 1900s. He dreams of having a family, but discovers that the older he gets, the less likely it is for him to be adopted, and that most of the older boys are "farmed out" as cheap labor. At 10, that fate befalls him when Mr. Thornton takes him to help with his farm and his horses. Gib, who remembers very little of his life before the orphanage, is surprised to recognize the hired man as someone he knew as a small child. Despite having been warned not to ask any questions of the Thorntons, the boy slowly begins to piece together his early childhood as a neighbor of the family. Although the work is difficult, Gib is well fed, comfortable, and happy; he loves caring for the horses and has an amazing talent for working with them. Not everything is perfect, though. Mrs. Thornton is crippled and often ill; her husband is extremely cold; and their daughter resents him. Slowly Livy and Gib become friends as he teaches her to ride, but when Livy decides to ride the high-strung horse that caused her mother's paralyzing fall, Gib is blamed and returned to the orphanage. Kinder and gentler than Susan Beth Pfeffer's Nobody's Daughter (Delacorte, 1995), this story has the pathos and hopefulness of Joan Lowery Nixon's "Orphan Train Quartet" (Delacorte). In a book inspired by the life of the author's father, the novel delivers an engaging glimpse of history as well as a compelling story. With well-drawn, complex characters and a touch of mystery, it has surefire appeal.‘Janet Hilbun, Sam Houston Middle School, Garland, TX (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.



An Excerpt from Gib Rides Home         Winter melted into spring, and spring had begun to green toward summer,         when one morning at breakfast Buster came into the hall with a report         notice for Gib. The notice said that Gibson Whittaker was to report to         the headmistress's office at one o'clock.         "The office?" Bobby asked him. "What did you do now, Gib? And how come         the office, I wonder, instead of Harding's torture chamber?"         "I don't know," Gib said. "I guess it'll be the Repentance Room, but I         don't know why. What do you suppose I did this time?"         "I'll bet it's 'cause you laughed at the wrong time again," Jacob said.         "When Offenbacher was reading the chore assignments and she almost said         Bacob and Jobby. You know, when she said, 'Bacob and Job--er--Jacob and         Bobby will be in the laundry.'"         Gib shook his head. "I didn't even smile," he said. "I'm pretty sure I         didn't."         "You must have," Jacob insisted. "Anyway, I think you're mighty lucky         getting sent to the Repentance Room instead of the laundry with Bobby         and me." He grinned. "I mean, since ghosts and stuff like that don't bother         you none, you can just repent a little and then curl up and have a nice         long nap."         "Yeah," Bobby agreed. "While me and Jacob are breaking our backs and wearing         the skin off our knuckles."         Gib grinned, too. "I'll be thinking about you and those old scrubbing         boards while I'm having a good long nap up there in the Repentance Room."         He'd made that up to tease Jacob and Bobby, but on the way to the office         he did try to tell himself that the Repentance Room really wouldn't be         too bad on such a warm day. It was at least a slightly comforting thought,         but Bobby and Jacob and the weather and everything else faded from his         mind a moment later when he walked into Miss Offenbacher's office.         For a horrible moment Gib thought the man who was sitting in front of         Miss Offenbacher's desk was the same one who had taken Georgie Olson.         Like Mr. Bean, the man had gray hair and a lean, gray-bearded face. But         after the shock of that first glance began to wear off, Gib could see         that it wasn't the same man at all. This man's beard was shorter and more         neatly trimmed, and his eyes were wider and not so deep-set.         When Gib began to come out of his terrified paralysis Miss Offenbacher         was saying, "Here he is, Mr. Thornton. I take it this is the boy you had         in mind?"         "Yes, yes," the man said, getting to his feet and motioning for Gib to         approach. "I believe so." Putting his hand on Gib's shoulder, he asked,         "What is your name, boy? And how old are you?"         "G-Gib," Gib stammered. "Gibson Whittaker, sir. Ten, sir. Eleven in December."         The man nodded slowly and then asked, "Where were you born?"         Gib was shaking his head when Miss Offenbacher interrupted. "We've made         it a policy not to give full orphans any information of that sort. We've         found that in some cases it only leads to attempts to--"         "I see," the man interrupted. "That's quite all right. I'm satisfied that         this is the boy I'm looking for."         Releasing Gib's shoulder, he turned away, sat down at the desk, and as         Gib's mind reeled with fear and dread, and then the faintest echo of old         hopes, the gray-bearded man signed the papers that transferred to his         care and guidance one Gibson Whittaker, ten-year-old ward of the state         and resident of the Lovell House Home for Orphaned and Abandoned Boys. From the Hardcover edition. Excerpted from Gib Rides Home by Zilpha Keatley Snyder All rights reserved by the original copyright owners. Excerpts are provided for display purposes only and may not be reproduced, reprinted or distributed without the written permission of the publisher.