Meet various horses and hear their stories in this lift-the-flap ode to all things equine.
Cut into a barn shape, this board book splits down the middle so that the barn doors open outward. On each side is a stall with door-shaped flaps. Through brief, somewhat stiff biographies, readers meet 12 of the (fictional) horses with surprisingly variant stories, from Clyde the firefighter to Biscuit, the itty-bitty pony who prides in taking children “on their first ride.” Each stall displays eclectic paraphernalia that reflects the horse’s particular backstory. Circus horse Nutmeg’s stall showcases fancy feathers, framed photos of her glory days, and lift-the-flap stall doors painted in circus tent stripes that reveal Nutmeg herself, prancing and costumed. Though there’s no plot, there’s a cozy summation as readers meet new mother Maple on the final page, ruminating about which path her own tiny foal might take. Quaint, pastel-colored illustrations feel as though they might be stills from a vintage animated film. All of this warmth however, is reined in by the unwieldy design. Though the cover proudly proclaims “26 lift-the-flaps inside!” it’s too many to comfortably read with a lap-sit child, with flaps flying open unexpectedly and making it difficult to see the sweet horses in their entirety.
Though the book’s flaps are overambitious, horse lovers will be champing at the bit to meet these new farm friends. (Board book. 2-4)