FERN AND HORN by Marie-Louise Gay


by ; illustrated by
Age Range: 4 - 8
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Sibling rivalry as an art form.

Fern, a little girl with big curly hair and an imagination as vast as the universe, loves to draw, especially natural things like plants and insects. The illustrations suggest that Fern draws on everything: the walls, couch, floor, window—turning the indoors into an outdoor garden. When her brother, Horn, ambles in, Fern offers him her “favorite purple crayon,” but he wants to borrow them all. Although Horn feels that “his flowers look like purple pancakes” (they do!) and “his caterpillars look like striped socks” (he’s right!), Fern advises him to draw whatever he wants. Horn might not draw objects accurately, but he can surely draw them big. He creates a ferocious, floor-sized elephant that comes to life and stomps Fern’s flowers and swallows her insects. Faced with the destructive nature of Horn’s sentient creations, Fern sets her sights somewhere out of reach: the stars. She loans Horn her scissors, not realizing that while cutting out stars, he will deconstruct the page on which he appears…to make a star-eating polar bear. Gay’s take-you-by-surprise, childlike mixed-media illustrations wittily shine a spotlight on children’s creativity and ingenuity, affirming that sharing can solve a multitude of conflicts…sometimes. Both children have light-brown skin and tightly curled black hair.

A real winner that’s as delightful as it is constructive. (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: Sept. 3rd, 2019
ISBN: 978-1-77306-226-6
Page count: 48pp
Publisher: Groundwood
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15th, 2019


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