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Boots and Buckets (The Field Notes of Gwen Bell, Book #2) Review by Nikki Holder

Deb Watley
Deb Watley Books

The Field Notes of Gwen Bell: Boots and Buckets by Deb Whatley was a pleasure to read. It is the second book in the series, but it is excellent as a standalone story. 

Boots and Buckets is a sweet story about an accidental friendship between the main character, Gwen, and a new girl, Harper. Although they live in the same town, they had somehow never met. The two girls meet at band camp the summer before they begin 6th grade. At first, the girls do not like each other very much or have anything in common. Gwen was a bit of a fashionista, and Harper was a horse girl. Gwen was an only child; Harper was the oldest of the children in her family.

It did not take long after striking up a conversation for the girls to realize that their worlds were quite different, although they lived near each other. As the story progresses, Gwen realized that they each had something to offer the other. Gwen wanted to learn how to ride horses so she could go on a trail ride with a friend. Harper wanted to find an old family treasure so that she could help her family pay medical bills for her unborn sibling, who had been diagnosed with Downs Syndrome. Harper could teach Gwen how to ride a horse, and Gwen could help Harper find the treasure on her family’s farm. It started as a “business” deal, an exchange of services, never intending to go beyond that. Along the way, they have a few fights, they forgive, and they learn what friendship is. The girls become friends and realize that friends are treasures.

The book is well constructed. I have a paperback copy with a beautiful, full-color cover. It does contain a few illustrations, which look like notes that Gwen took, and maps she drew to help the girls with their treasure hunting. The story flows very naturally, so it is easy to read. I enjoyed reading this book, as did my 13-year-old and 8-year-old daughters, and we are excited to read the first book as well. I found the book to be pure and full of lessons about forgiveness, friendship, and how people who are different can become great friends. I think girls in upper elementary school grades to middle school would enjoy this book; however, I would recommend this book to anyone.

Product review by Nikki Holder, The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine, LLC, March 2021