MUSTANG CANYON by Jonathan London


by & illustrated by
Age Range: 4 - 8
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There are still wild horses roaming what was the Old West thanks to a wise Congress that in 1971 passed a law to protect them. London (Froggy Goes to the Doctor, above, etc.) is grateful he has actually seen them. In a spare and gentle style, he tells the story of a newborn Mustang, his thundering herd, and Little Pinto’s brush with fate. Underlying the narrative, readers learn of the Mustangs’ habitat in the great Painted Desert, their social structure with a white-faced herd master, their different labels, and their way of life. They fear rogue stallions, fast, raging water, and most especially, man in his airplanes. More than the story, San Souci’s (Frightful’s Daughter, above, etc.) spreads of gorgeous watercolors with color pencil highlights breathe life into the Mustangs’ world in a realistic play of color and light. His attention to research and detail goes so far as to depict a dark shield on Little Pinto’s neck and chest, believed by the Indians, he says, to give the horse magical powers. Young readers should not miss the sense of community and family these “wild” horses must have to survive in their harsh but beautiful land, and in that notion they will countenance nature’s link with their own survival. One could only hope one day to see a herd of Mustangs in the wild, pounding resolutely to their own purpose, and that longing will start here for many young imaginations. (afterword, glossary) (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: Sept. 1st, 2002
ISBN: 0-7636-1554-4
Page count: 32pp
Publisher: Candlewick
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1st, 2002


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