"THAT'S MINE, HORACE" by Holly Keller


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Keller's (Jacob's Tree, 1999, etc.) popular preschool character Horace returns in a sympathetic tale about impulsive childhood theft. Horace discovers a terrific orange truck on the playground and pockets it. When confronted by Walter, the truck's owner, during class, Horace lies, telling their teacher that the truck belongs to him. Overcome with guilt but unwilling to relinquish his newfound treasure, Horace feigns an illness to stay home from school. From his classmates come a bevy of get-well notes, including a gracious one from Walter telling Horace to keep the toy until he is better. The next day Horace returns to school and voluntarily gives the truck back. Keller handles this sensitive but very common childhood issue with finesse. The continued loving affirmation of all the adults around him helps Horace to make the right choice. Some may take issue with the fact that there are no consequences for Horace beyond his own feelings of guilt, and Walter, the victim, is never given any support from their teacher. However, Horace—and the reader—learns the lesson so much better because his decision to return the truck comes from within and not because he is compelled to do so by an adult. Keller's bright watercolors offer a varied landscape, alternately filling some pages completely and interspersed amongst the text on others. Her cheerful menagerie of animals—Horace is a leopard, Walter a tiger, and the teacher a zebra—amuse and engage as readers learn a vital lesson. (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: May 31st, 2000
ISBN: 0-688-17160-5
Page count: 24pp
Publisher: Greenwillow