In Jeannie and the Gentle Giants by Luanne Armstrong (Ronsdale), Jeannie is a young city girl who ends up in a foster home in the countryside near Kelowna, B.C., and the gentle giants are two enormous work horses named Sally and Sebastien who help Jeannie adapt to her new home. Working with horses is a big part of the story, and while I still don’t know how to get a couple of them to pull logs out of the woods, I do understand how one might go about trying. But the real pleasure in reading this book is watching Jeannie work her way through the minefield of her life: to stay loyal to her mother, who is undergoing treatment in a mental hospital back in the city, and still have the joy and challenge that she is finding in her new situation. Armstrong writes from a deep understanding of ranch life, and the female protagonist in this story, as in Armstrong’s book Fanny, uses her own wits and instincts to find her way out of difficulty. The story is written with such obvious love for horses (who are thanked in the acknowledgements) that even a city girl like me couldn’t help wanting to lean against them, smell them and watch them work.