Two young horses play, nap, learn, and grow in Blessington’s debut picture book.
This book reaches out to its young readers in the first-person voices of two juvenile Clydesdales: a colt named Danny and a filly named Emily, born a year apart. It’s designed to look like a journal—the text appears to be hand-drawn on lined notebook paper—and each entry is illustrated with Garman’s photographs of the real-life Danny and Emily, who served as the book’s inspiration. The two horses live with or near other animals, including a cow, sheep, ponies, Sparky the dog, and Harry the hawk, on an idyllic-appearing farm in the Scottish Highlands (owned by the author and photographer in real life). After the equine brother and sister travel there by truck, they settle into their new home and share their simple, day-to-day adventures with a recurring theme: “Because we are kids too, we are curious”; “Because we are kids too, we lose our baby teeth,” and so on. The horses explore, overcome their fears, get into mischief, splash in mud puddles, play hide-and-seek, learn new skills, and make friends, just like human children do, albeit sometimes in rather different ways. For example, horse mischief includes “wee Emily” munching forbidden flowers, and when the two attend an outdoor classroom, their lessons include how to respond to reins. This book isn’t just for horse-lovers, though; it features a clear, pleasant narrative, matched in tone by its photographs, and it effectively invites young readers to relate to and empathize with “kids” of another species. To that end, the author uses creative license with some examples of kidlike behavior, such as Danny’s selfie close-up shot. She also offers humorous explanations for why Emily digs in the snow, and why Danny noses the ground as a rainbow arcs overhead. (Both involve some big brother/little sister teasing.) However, there is one error in word usage: the word “lay” in “We had to lay down for a nap.”
A simple kids’ tale that blends gentle storytelling with real-life horse facts.