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BLUE HORSE by Helen Stephens


by Helen Stephens & illustrated by Helen Stephens

Pub Date: March 1st, 2003
ISBN: 0-439-43178-6
Publisher: Scholastic

A tender-hearted tale about overcoming the pangs of social anxiety. Having just moved to town, Tilly gazes longingly at the children in the playground but is too shy to approach them. She learns that playing such favorite childhood games as hide-and-seek is not much fun solo. However, with judicious use of her imagination, she soon discovers a special playmate of her own. A stuffed, blue horse becomes her companion. With the ingenuity of youth, Tilly has lively interactions with her special friend, sharing many conversations and adventures together. When Tilly spies a girl playing alone on the playground, her bond with the blue horse bolsters her confidence, enabling her to seek out a new friend. Stephens’s (The Quigleys, 2002, etc.) empathetic tale is on target for preschoolers. She compassionately addresses the trials of bashfulness and models simple coping strategies that are appropriate for small fry. Young readers can readily identify with Tilly’s dilemma and will appreciate her imaginative solution. The full-bleed illustrations are densely colored in a myriad of vibrant hues: Tilly’s teal and purple room with its sunshine yellow door is a perfect haven for a child. In her expressive paintings, Stephens deftly segues into the fantasy sequences with ease, using items that were already in Tilly’s room to inspire her subsequent flights of fancy. This warmly reassuring tale is ideal to share with hesitant little ones. (Picture book. 2-5)