The irrepressible horse first met in Dance, Dance, Dance (2018) is at it again—jumping in before thinking through the consequences.
This time Horse has decided to paint a mural. Sporting a jaunty artist’s beret, Horse proceeds to make a mess. Buggy patiently and courteously offers suggestions, which Horse politely but adamantly refuses. Finally, splattered with purple paint and after slipping in a puddle of yellow, Horse sheepishly accepts Buggy’s advice. Following Buggy’s planning tips, Horse finally paints a successful mural. All this could come across as quite pedantic, but Long’s loose cartoon illustrations of Horse’s exuberant painting style keep the message light. Horse wields the paintbrush with hooves or jauntily holds it between clenched teeth. Horse’s posture and facial expression reflect enthusiasm, frustration, and ultimate delight. Children who have been given the freedom to paint without planning will appreciate Horse’s dilemma. Buggy’s neutral tone and patience make for a good model for caregivers or teachers (though they may be tempted to add cautionary language when Buggy says, “Draw your picture on the wall!”). The cartoon panels with speech bubbles, picture-book trim, and vocabulary of fewer than 80 words used repeatedly make this sequel ideal for children just beginning to read on their own. Younger children will have no problem reading the pictures.
Sure to inspire some enthusiastic painting. (Early reader. 4-8)