From the snow-covered hills of Bavaria and through the twelve houses of the zodiac, little Ludo follows his aging horse Renti to his fateful confrontation with death-dealing Scorpio and his destiny as a star horse drawing the sun's own chariot. The quest gives Ludo a chance to meet the ruler of each house--routinely personified as a talking goat, a lion who rewards a kind deed, a menacing crab. . . . But few of the ordeals Ludo anticipates actually take place; it seems most of his hosts give special consideration for youth. Even when the scorpion offers him a choice between life and death, Ludo doesn't make up his mind, answering ""Whatever you wish."" (Fortunately, the scorpion sends him back to Bavaria.) Thus we are left with a clever framework for fantasy, but little or no heart or real challenge. Renti's sentimental journey to the stars would be an acceptable end for a faithful old horse, but it's impossible to believe that Ludo will now become a great woodcarver simply as a reward for having been a good boy.