THE RIDDLE HORSE by Mark Summers


by ; illustrated by
Age Range: 5 - 8
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A nostalgic riddle: what horse is this?

"Every day I stand next to a mirror, but I have never seen myself in it." The eponymous horse describes charging up San Juan Hill, starring in spaghetti Westerns, winning the Derby and medaling in "every Olympics. Always." The horse has traveled thousands of miles but never ended up more than 30 feet away from where it started—because, of course, it's a carousel horse. Readers who have any familiarity with merry-go-rounds will have probably identified it before cracking the cover, on which prances a carousel horse in all its carven glory, lacking only a pole. This quibble aside, the riddle is clever, but it seems designed to appeal more to adults than children, who likely won't understand the references to Teddy Roosevelt or feel the same sense of a historic past. Likewise, the textured scratchboard-and–oil wash illustrations, in a muted palette and set against lots of white space, are lovely but seem deliberately old-fashioned, almost static, and not child-friendly at all. Every rider and every child depicted is white. The idea here isn't bad, but it's slight enough that it might have worked better as a magazine piece.

A nostalgic piece that, however beautiful, seems wasted on this age group. (Picture book. 5-8)

Pub Date: Sept. 1st, 2016
ISBN: 978-1-56846-291-2
Page count: 24pp
Publisher: Creative Editions/Creative Company
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1st, 2016


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