MYSTIC HORSE by Paul Goble
Kirkus Star


by & illustrated by
Age Range: 6 - 11
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Goble (Storm Maker’s Tipi, 2001, etc.) returns with another engaging Native American legend complemented by his glorious illustrations—a mix of authentic and contemporary design. An old Pawnee woman and her grandson are very poor and walk behind the tribe, as they have no horse. One day they come across a seemingly worn-out horse. The boy cares for it as if it’s the most precious one in the tribe. In return for his kindness, the horse gives the boy advice that enables him to achieve status as a brave warrior. He goes beyond where the animal has directed him, however, and the horse is killed in battle. Realizing his foolishness, the boy retreats to sit in sorrow and remorse; the Father above allows the horse to come back to life. A series of events brings an entire herd of horses to the boy, who asks his grandmother to take one and give the rest to those in need. Never again are they viewed as poor. In fact, the boy is revered as “Piraski Resaru, Boy Chief” and the horse is known as the mystic horse. Goble’s storytelling is superb; his illustrations extraordinary and filled with fascinating detail. His characteristic, stylistically flat paintings accurately portray the Native American tribe he depicts and call to mind early Native American paintings. Using a palette of browns and golds, blues and greens, he creates a magnificent world of days long ago when the Pawnees valued their horses above all else. Author’s notes citing resources used as background verify the authenticity for both the words and the illustrations and provide insights into the history of the Pawnee nation. Goble’s fans will be delighted and new readers will be inspired to read more of his work. From an exceptional talent: a sure classic. (Picture book/folktale. 6-11)

Pub Date: April 1st, 2003
ISBN: 0-06-029813-8
Page count: 40pp
Publisher: HarperCollins
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1st, 2003


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