Horse Diaries: Maestoso Petra by Jane Kendall (Published by Random House, March 9, 2010)
Maestoso Petra is a young Lipizzaner stallion born in the countryside of Austria in 1932. He first few years there are carefree as he races through the country meadows with the other horses. At age four, he is selected for the great honor of being trained at the Spanish Riding School in Vienna. He enjoys the training and especially enjoys the visits from his trainer's young daughter, Liesl. Maestoso Petra becomes Liesl's favorite horse at the school, and he always looks forward to her visits and the treats she brings for him.
However, life changes for both the horses and the humans when Adolf Hitler rises to power, Austria is taken over by the Nazis, and World War II begins. Vienna is bombed and the horses and the humans that take care of them must flee to safety in the countryside.
Told from the point of view of Maestoso Petra, this book is sure to appeal to young readers who love horse stories, particularly those who also enjoy historical fiction. The story was very sweet and the illustrations by Ruth Sanderson were really adorable. If you know a young reader who loves horses and history, this would be a good book to recommend or to give as a gift.