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TERRIBLE HORSES by Raymond Antrobus Kirkus Star


by Raymond Antrobus ; illustrated by Ken Wilson-Max

Pub Date: May 7th, 2024
ISBN: 9781536235487
Publisher: Candlewick

Older/younger sibling conflicts are faced head-on, thanks to a herd of horses.

A younger sibling has an older—and much cooler—sister. “I want her friends to be my friends. I want her things to be my things,” the child tells us. But “she wants her friends to be her friends. She wants her things to be her things.” When the two fight, the younger child retreats and writes “stories of terrible horses.” They say horses are the most difficult thing for an artist to draw, but if that’s the case, then no one told Wilson-Max. His horses careen across the page in magnificent colors, hooves blazing, hair whipping in the wind, always leaving one small pony behind. After another fight, the child retreats again and writes about the horses, with “their terrible trampling / their ghastly galloping / their nagging neighing.” Only when the sister sees the book firsthand do the two come to a kind of accord. Antrobus takes a universal conflict and deftly synthesizes it to its most essential parts. Words and pictures work in tandem, expertly speaking volumes with minimal text. The children are brown-skinned; the younger one uses hearing aids.

Both big and little siblings will see a bit of themselves in this exquisite equine-saturated tale.

(Picture book. 3-6)