Chancey of the Maury River



Chancey of the Maury River ; Gigi Amateau, Candlewick Press, 2008

Grade Level: 3-5

ISBN & Cost: 0763634395, $15.99


Copyright © 2008 Gigi Amateau. Jacket illustration copyright ©2008 Tim O'Brien. Reproduced by permission of the publisher, Candlewick Press, Inc.



Chancey was a horse in bad shape. He had been neglected and half starved when he was introduced to Claire, a little girl suffering the trauma of divorce. Together they will face the hardest challenges of their lives.


General Review: 

Chancey of the Maury River is a story about friendship, unconditional love, and second chances. Chancey, an old-albino appaloosa, and Claire, a little girl who is devastated by her parents' divorce, become best friends that help each other through the hardest times in their lives. The story of Chancey demonstrates that we all have something valuable to give and that we are never too old to embark on a new adventure.


The story is told through Chancey's voice and helps the reader to see the world through an animal's eyes. The story reminds us that animals love and need love in return. Students will sympathize with Chancey's setbacks and disappointments and find hope in his second chances. By reading Chancey , the reader learns a lot about horses, horsemanship, and stables.


Themes: friendship, horses, cancer, therapy, unconditional love, blindness, second chances, Appaloosa horse -- Fiction. ; Appaloosa horse -- Fiction. ; Horses -- Fiction. ; Albinos and albinism – Fiction. ; Pets -- Therapeutic use -- Fiction. ; Blindness in animals -- Fiction. ; Maury River (Va.) -- Fiction.  


Author information: 

According to the inside cover of Chancey , Gigi Amateau lives in Virginia with her family and two horses. She based this story on the friendship between her daughter and their Appaloosa Albert who was a school horse in a therapeutic riding program. More information can be found about the author at the following resources: 



Discussion Questions: (Standard 3; Benchmark 3)

  1. Discuss a time when you had a disappointment that actually led to something good in your life.
  2. How did Chancey adjust to his blindness? He had certain tricks he used to help navigate the barns, stables, and paths. What were they? How have you met challenges you might have?
  3. When Chancey was training to be a therapy horse he had to learn to be calm in very stressful situations. What do you do to cope with stressful situations?



  1. Research and create a PowerPoint presentation on animals used for therapy. Things to include: what kinds of animals are used, how are they trained, and what kind of therapies do they provide. (Standard 3, Benchmark 4)
  2. Research and write a report on the history of horses or Appaloosas. (Standard 1, Benchmark 5 and Standard 6, Benchmark 1)
  3. Create a character map . (Standard 3, Benchmark 1)


Similar Books for Further Reading

A Horse of Her Own by Annie Wedekind 

Shadow Horse by Alison Hart