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Platt, Chris 1959–

Platt, Chris 1959–

Personal

Born 1959; married. Education: University of Nevada-Reno, B.A. (journalism).

Addresses

Home—NV.

Career

Author and jockey. Earned gallop license Salem, OR, c. 1975; earned jockey license in OR; jockey at race-courses in Salem and Portland, OR; has also worked as a groom and a trainer's assistant, and as a driver of draft horses.

Member

Romance Writers of America, TeenLitAuthors.com.

Awards, Honors

Gold Heart Award, Romance Writers of America, for Willow King.

Writings

Willow King, Random House (New York, NY), 1998.

Race the Wind! (sequel to Willow King), Random House (New York, NY), 2000.

Moon Shadow, Peachtree Publications (Atlanta, GA), 2006.

"ASHLEIGH" SERIES

Holiday Homecoming, HarperEntertainment (New York, NY), 2000.

The Lost Foal, HarperEntertainment (New York, NY), 2000.

Ashleigh's Promise, HarperEntertainment (New York, NY), 2000.

Derby Dreams, HarperEntertainment (New York, NY), 2001.

Ashleigh's Western Challenge, HarperEntertainment (New York, NY), 2002.

The Prize, HarperEntertainment (New York, NY), 2002.

Winter Race Camp, HarperEntertainment (New York, NY), 2002.

Stardust's Foal, HarperEntertainment (New York, NY), 2003.

Sidelights

Chris Platt is the author of Willow King, winner of the Romance Writers of America's Golden Heart Award, as well as other books for middle-grade readers. Platt, whose books are based on her experiences as a jockey, groom, and horse trainer, earned her gallop license when she was just sixteen years old. A few years later she became one of the first female jockeys in Oregon, and she raced at tracks throughout that state. After earning a degree in journalism from the University of Nevada-Reno, Platt combined her two loves—writing and horses—in a new career as a children's author. Among her novels are several books in the "Ashleigh" series, including Derby Dreams and Stardust's Foal. Created by Joanna Campbell, the series focuses on Ashleigh Griffin and the horses she trains at her family's Edgardale farm. Platt counts Marguerite Henry, author of Misty of Chincoteague, and Walter Farley, author of The Black Stallion, among her literary idols.

Platt's first book, Willow King, centers on the relationship between a handicapped horse and the handicapped girl who nurses him back to health. When Katie Durham, who was born with one leg shorter than the other, discovers that Willow King, a colt born with crooked legs, is about to be destroyed, she convinces his owner to let her raise the horse. With the help of Jason, her handsome neighbor, Katie turns Willow King into a champion, despite the machinations of Cindy, her nemesis, and Orlin Caldwell, an unscrupulous trainer who attempts to drug the challenged race horse. A critic in Publishers Weekly noted that the author salts her novel with "credible moments of suspense," and Lauren Peterson, writing in Booklist, called Willow King a "heartwarming story" that "demonstrates the amazing capacity that humans and animals have to overcome disabilities."

In Race the Wind!, the sequel to Willow King, Katie prepares her horse for the first jewel in the Triple Crown: the Kentucky Derby. Despite her inexperience, she hopes to earn her jockey's license in time to ride Willow King in the Run for the Roses, although she faces competition from Mark, a confident new jockey who also plans to be in saddle. According to School Library Journal contributor Carol Schene, "Katie is still a likable and intelligent character." Kim D. Headlee, writing for Crescent Blues online, remarked that "solid storytelling, a clean prose style and well-rounded characters make Race the Wind! enjoyable for adults and youths alike."

Moon Shadow concerns Nevada farm girl Callie, an exuberant, horse-loving thirteen year old who is devastated after officials from the Bureau of Land Management round up the herd of wild mustangs that live near her family's ranch. When Callie learns that her favorite horse, Moonbeam, died while giving birth, she determines to adopt Moonbeam's newborn foal, and raise it with the assistance of a friendly cowboy and a helpful veterinarian. Though some critics believed that the plot of Moon Shadow relies too heavily on stock situations, Platt's work received generally strong reviews. A contributor in the Midwest Book Review described Moon Shadow as "a gentle novel of compassion and forming connections," while Carolyn Phelan stated in Booklist that "readers will quickly come to care about the life-or-death issue at the heart of the story." "Combining a hardworking heroine, supportive and loving secondary characters, and a few coincidences, Platt creates a heartwarming, wish-come-true story," Nancy Call concluded in her School Library Journal review of Moon Shadow.

Biographical and Critical Sources

PERIODICALS

Booklist, April 15, 1998, Lauren Peterson, review of Willow King, p. 1446; November 1, 2006, Carolyn Phelan, review of Moon Shadow, p. 55.

Kirkus Reviews, September 15, 2006, review of Moon Shadow, p. 964.

Midwest Book Review, April, 2007, review of Moon Shadow.

Publishers Weekly, March 23, 1998, review of Willow King, p. 100.

School Library Journal, July, 1998, Carol Schene, review of Willow King, p. 98; September, 2000, review of Race the Wind!, p. 236; January, 2007, Nancy Call, review of Moon Shadow, p. 136.

ONLINE

Crescent Blues Online,http://www.crescentblues.com/ (November 20, 2007), Kim D. Headlee, review of Race the Wind!

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