Four mini board books about magical horses fit inside one larger board book with playscape pages.
Flicker, Chestnut, Blizzard, and Cloud are four magical horses, each with their own mini board-book featurette. The four books—roughly 3 inches square, with die-cut shaping—fit inside a larger board book that has three play scenes with roughly figure-eight tracks. The idea is that the mini books (with a front and back cover that is just the image of each horse) double as manipulatives that can stomp and trot along the paths around the castle, farm, or winter scenes in the larger book. The horse books have short, declarative statements about each horse’s abilities and character traits: “Cloud is kind”; “Chestnut trots through new paths.” There is no story, no interaction among the horses, nothing imaginative, and it’s unclear what the horses even do that is “magical,” excepting Cloud’s ability to fly. Mytinger’s illustrations give some personality to each of the horses, with such details as tiny flowers in Blizzard’s mane or woodland creatures in Chestnut’s story, but they’re not enough to flesh out their characters. Because the entire middle section of the large book is a storage container for the mini books, the play scenes feature sparse illustrations. This one is firmly more toy than book. Not a lot of substance.
Is it cute? Sure. Does it tell a story? Definitely not. (Novelty board book. 2-4)