LITTLE FOAL'S BUSY DAY by Jane Monroe Donovan


illustrated by
Age Range: 2 - 4
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Follow a sleek black foal frolicking through an idyllic day.

Starring a long-legged, curious foal with a white star on its forehead that ensures recognizability even when it’s amid a crowd, this board book is clearly made by and for horse fanciers. Within sweeping, lush pastoral scenes, the foal wakes up next to its dam, gallops about, views other horses and animals, and returns to the barn to rest. Taking readers through the foal’s day seems intended to unify the narrative, but with only a tedious list of activities, the book feels like a collection of lavish horse paintings with extraneous text. The oils used in the full-bleed double-page spreads are a relatively uncommon board-book medium, and the resulting formal, nostalgic art is an attractive change of pace. Beyond the pretty, painterly art, however, the stiff language that eschews contractions sounds more reminiscent of an early reader than a board book: “It is time to go to the big field.” There are some attempts to involve readers, as when the omniscient narrator asks the foal to identify “who is walking in the grass.” Yet the answer—a cat—is obscured by grass. A frilly white typeset with swoops and curves seems oddly mismatched to the art and text’s solemn tone.

More a compilation of horse art than a book, this is nevertheless a loving ode to all things equine. (Board book. 2-4)

Pub Date: Sept. 15th, 2019
ISBN: 978-1-53411-068-7
Page count: 18pp
Publisher: Sleeping Bear Press
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15th, 2019