Tuesday, April 3, 2018

If I had a horse by Gianna Marino

I'm always eager to see a new book from Marino; her wide and varied repertoire has included such a wide range of art and story that I never know quite what to expect. In her latest book, readers will find a dreamy, stunningly illustrated ode to the love between a child and horse. "If I had a horse" the story begins, and goes on to imagine the wonderful adventures and slowly growing friendship of child and animal.

Swathes of color spread across the pages, showing the slow approach of a shy child and a horse, mane and hair both blowing in the wind, until they ride together across the landscape. There are no identifying details, only a changing panorama of colors. When the horse bucks the child off, swirls of blue, green, and yellow show anger; when they approach a new herd of horses the peaceful colors of a glowing sunset spread across the grasslands. The story ends with the fearless child, standing on the horse's back, arms outspread and hair flying in the wind, as the two friends surge across the page in deep purples and violets, set against streaks of blue and lavender.

Verdict: This dreamy story is the perfect wish fulfillment for a horse-loving reader and a peaceful read for calming down a raucous storytime. Accompany it with a painting program and encourage your audience to experiment with colors, match it with other stories about imagination, or just curl up with a child for a lovely bedtime story. Highly recommended.

ISBN: 9781626729087; Published 2018 by Roaring Brook; Borrowed from another library in my consortium

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