In a barn at the base of a mountain, close to a nearby zoo, three horses live together but refuse to be friends. Cinnamon, the brown horse, believes the other two are thieves; Snowflake, the white horse, thinks he’s smarter than the other two; and Ebony, the black horse, is convinced the other two are liars. Because the three horses never bother to talk to each other and thus realize that they are wrong, they never become friends. One day, the horses are attacked by three escaped hyenas from the zoo. Worried the hyenas could corner them in the barn, the horses flee to an out-of-sight cave, where, for the first time, they can’t see the colors of their coats. That color-blindness leads to conversation, and the horses realize they have more in common than they realized. Together, they face the hyenas, who eventually retreat to the zoo for food that doesn’t fight back. The shared experience allows the three horses to overcome their prejudices, so that when a new horse with a coat of mixed colors arrives at the barn, they immediately accept her. The very short story has varying lengths of text per page, each accompanied by one of Mitchell’s soft, pastel illustrations; curiously, the hyenas have a lot more detail than the horses. Several pages have only a single sentence, while during the horses’ time in the cave, the text is a full page and a half in length—uneven pacing that could make lap-reading a challenge. Curran also opens the picture book with several pages of introductory text, which, though easily skipped for lap readers, takes up a curious amount of space in the book. The message itself isn’t new, and the racism in practice by the horses is defeated in one easy conversation, but toddlers and newly independent readers may be comforted by the idea that dialogue can overcome differences.
Supported by an obvious, but still needed, message about prejudice and friendship.