To be different is to be a standout in this confusing little story.
A smiling equine named Steve yearns for greatness—maybe even a ribbon. Fortunately, he encounters a “beautiful gold horn” lying on the ground, claps his hooves, affixes said horn to his head, and races off to brag to the forest critters. Unfortunately, the gold horn does not stay in place and falls to his chin, unseen. This is a calamity, and Steve expends much energy and emotion in his search for it, finally finding it in a pond as he stares at himself. Despite much splashing about, the horn is not retrievable, and meanwhile the other animals have one-upped him by strapping objects to their own heads. Not to worry, though. Steve decides he is still “exceptionally different!” because they all have headpieces and he does not. Collier varies her use of typefaces and sizes and adds some comic-book panels, authorial asides, and occasional definitions to the telling. When Steve announces his intention to be “exceptional,” Collier adds “that means special” with an arrow pointing to the original word. The artwork is digitized ink and watercolor on white backgrounds. Steve is depicted comically with long straight legs and a long neck.
Team spirit and individual achievement are certainly lacking in this attempt to explore what makes a horse (or a child) special. (Picture book. 3-6)