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Spirit Riding Free: Lucky and the Mustangs of Miradero is a book by children's author Suzanne Selfors, first published October 31, 2017 by Little, Brown and Company. Unlike the author's previous book, Spirit Riding Free: The Adventure Begins, the book is not an adaptation of any episode of the Spirit Riding Free TV series, but instead details events of Lucky's first winter in Miradero, between mid-autumn and the beginning of spring, corresponding roughly to the time period covered by the episodes "Lucky and the Harvest Hunt", "Lucky and the Christmas Spirit", and "Lucky and the Deadly Blizzard", but without mentioning the events of those episodes. The book in particular details the struggles of the residents of Miradero and Spirit's herd to survive a harsh winter, including a blizzard.

One detail revealed in the book, not given in the series, is the identity of Lucky's home city as Philadelphia.

Plot synopsis

On October 30th, Lucky's family attends the Harvest Festival, Miradero's largest event, and one for which the whole town takes off work. Maricela is the Harvest Princess for the third year in a row, and after her father, Mayor Gutierrez, declares the festival open, Pru and Abigail find Lucky in the crowd, and the PALs participate in the festivities. At the conclusion of the festival, Miradero Mel, a weather-predicting pig, refuses to come out of his "house", signaling a severe winter.

Lucky gets a new Boxcar Bonnie novel from her city friend Emma, Boxcar Bonnie and the Missing Mustang. Spirit abandons Lucky to join his herd. Aunt Cora begins to worry that a difficult winter might come and becomes anxious about preparation. Althea tries to hook Jim Prescott up with her sister in Boston.

Miss Flores assigns a winter-themed group project and puts the PALs and Maricela in a group together. Maricela proposes a topic of winter fashion, while the PALs are more interested in the winter habits of wildlife, like Spirit's herd. Pru refuses to concede the topic to Maricela, believing that Maricela cheated to win previous competitions, like being selected to give a Founder's Day speech, or winning the prize role in the school play. Maricela holds a grudge against Pru for taking Abigail's friendship away from her some years ago, and believes it acceptable to do anything to beat Pru, even cheat and rig competitions.

Spirit defends Turo's chicken coop from hungry wolves.

Differences between the book and the show

  • In the show, no large Harvest Festival is shown or mentioned, and it appears the small late-night gathering featuring the making of the communal soup the night of the midnight Harvest Hunt is the only celebration of the harvest.
  • The book states that Spirit has special status and that no one would ever try to wrangle him again, whereas in the show, the same mesteñeros that roped him the first time did so again for Grayson the following spring.
  • In the book, Señor Carrots has always been fond of Lucky, whereas in the show, the donkey shows no particular affinity for Lucky and once angrily stole the ball she was playing with.
  • The book spells Mrs. Granger's first name as "Fanny", whereas it is spelled "Fannie" in the credits of "Lucky and the Rough Ride".
  • In the book, the schoolhouse has a bell tower, accessed by back stairs. In the show, there are no tower or stairs, and the school bell is hung outside the front door.
  • In the book, the Granger barn is "red with white trim, and with a large sliding door and a peaked roof." In the show, the barn is unpainted, brown, with no colored trim, and the ground-level doors are on hinges, not sliding. The only sliding door is at the hayloft.

Characters mentioned in the book but not on the show

  • Pastor Perkins, who keeps miniature ponies
  • Mrs. Perkins, who plays the fiddle
  • Alice Crumb, who grew a giant pumpkin
  • Mrs. MacFinn, Lucky's family's housekeeper back in Philadelphia
  • Mr. MacFinn, Lucky's family's butler back in Philadelphia
  • Mr. Bunyan, a neighbor back in Philadelphia, "a stout, jowly man who grunted his dissatisfaction" and owned a bulldog
  • Mrs. Tolstoy, a neighbor back in Philadelphia, "who kept her hair in tight ringlets and spoke in a high-pitched voice" and owned a pampered, yappy poodle
  • Mary Pat and Bianca's father Samuel, the stationmaster of Miradero's train depot, an "easygoing, friendly man who insisted that everyone call him by his first name", and who wore a pair of overalls and a plaid shirt with the sleeves rolled up
  • Mr. Orval Sanchez, a toothpick-chewing goat farmer
  • Mrs. Marsh, an elderly resident of Miradero who lives alone
  • Mr. Broomgerry, an elderly resident of Miradero who lives alone in the hills and has bad legs
  • Spirit's sister, who foaled a filly
  • Jacques Chance, the Grangers' cook
  • Juan, a ranch hand for the Grangers
  • Ralph, a farmhand for the Grangers
  • Boris, a farmhand for the Grangers
  • Maricela's voice teacher, who played piano for school play auditions

Audiobook

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An unabridged audiobook edition, read by Saskia Maarleveld, was published the same day as the book and is available on CD and on Amazon's Audible service.

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