LA PRIMERA by Ian Tyson


The Story of Wild Mustangs
by & illustrated by
Age Range: 7 - 10
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This book illustrates the song of the same name, written by acclaimed Canadian folk and country singer Tyson. La Primera—Spanish for “the first”—is the mythical foundation sire of the North American mustang, horses brought here by the Conquistadors and crucial to the lifestyles of both Native Americans and American cowboys. Halvorson’s oil paintings are breathtaking, nearly photographic in detail, while conveying emotional weight. They exist as a series of gorgeous images, though, not as a continuous visual narrative. The song, like most, doesn’t translate exactly into a story, so the through line falters without support from the art. With just a couple of lines per double-page spread, there’s not enough going on in each image to keep the eye lingering after the text is read, resulting in a light-speed read. The pacing of the recorded song (available for free download with an accompanying PIN), in contrast, is slow enough that readers will find their fingers itching to turn the page. A very pretty mismatch. (Picture book. 7-10)

Pub Date: March 10th, 2009
ISBN: 978-0-88776-863-7
Page count: 32pp
Publisher: Tundra
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15th, 2009