Cover image for Gee whiz / Jane Smiley ; with illustrations by Elaine Clayton.
Gee whiz / Jane Smiley ; with illustrations by Elaine Clayton.
Publication Information:
New York : Random House Children's Book, 2014.

Physical Description:
261 pages : illustrations ; 20 cm
General Note:
"A Yearling Book."
Audience/Reading Level:
Interest age level: 10 & up.
Added Author:


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
SMI Paperback Junior Christian Fiction
SMI Paperback Junior Christian Fiction

On Order



Gee Whiz is a striking horse, and only part of that is because of his size. He is tall, but also graceful, yet his strides big but precise. At the same time, he keeps his eye on things, not as if he's suspicious, but as if he's curious.

When Abby is confronted with an onslaught of reminders of just how little of the world she has seen, she finds herself connecting with Gee Whiz's calm and curious nature, and his desire to know more. Her brother receives a draft notice to Vietnam, her friends return for the holidays with stories from their boarding school in Southern California, and the wise, lovable Brother Abner opens her eyes with tales of his many years spent traveling. At the same time, her beloved Jack and True Blue are both faced with opportunites to broaden their horizons away from the ranch.

Will she let them go, with hopes that she might one day do the same?

Author Notes

Jane Smiley was born in Los Angeles, California on September 26, 1949. She received a B. A. from Vassar College in 1971 and an M.F.A. and a Ph.D from the University of Iowa. From 1981 to 1996, she taught undergraduate and graduate creative writing workshops at Iowa State University. Her books include The Age of Grief, The Greenlanders, Moo, Horse Heaven, Ordinary Love and Good Will, Some Luck, and Early Warning. In 1985, she won an O. Henry Award for her short story Lily, which was published in The Atlantic Monthly. A Thousand Acres received both the National Book Critics Circle Award and the Pulitzer Prize.

(Bowker Author Biography)

Reviews 1

Horn Book Review

Abby, the sensible protagonist of Smileys horse girl series set in 1960sera California (Pie in the Sky, rev. 9/12), is growing up, which means she has some hard decisions to make. The head of the riding stable where Abby teaches wants to buy True Blue for use as a lesson horse, but Abbys not sure shes willing to sell. The partial owner of Jack, the orphaned thoroughbred colt Abby bottle-raised, wants him sent to the track for training, but racing training is too expensive for Abby and her family. And a new horse, Gee Whiz, arrives at Abbys familys farm, this one a retired racing thoroughbred, extraordinarily tall at 17.1 hands, very curious, and capable of opening gates by himself. Abbys older brother Danny has just gotten his draft notice for Vietnam, and Abby is determined to keep Gee Whiz and train him for Danny until he returns (Something to come home to, then, Danny says). In addition, episodes involving school and friends, the elders at church, and authentic details about life in the 1960s keep this series humming. Horse-loving readers will come away with more horse knowledge than they had before (in particular, how to catch a horse thats gotten loose from the pasture), but most will keep following the series just to hear how their levelheaded friend Abby is getting on. Art not seen. anita l. burkam (c) Copyright 2013. The Horn Book, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.