A frisky equine outing from a master paper engineer.
Each of the first nine page turns causes an intricately articulated horse or two, or some part of a scene, to shoot up or out, often to a startling height or in an unexpected direction (the 10th and last opening is a 3-D layout of the titular farmhouse and yard). Cued by one-word captions, the horses are engaged in different activities, from “Pulling” a cartload of small farm animals or “Playing” tug of war with a goat—using a shirt from a clothesline—to “Resting” amid wildflowers with a trio of playful kittens. Hard-hearted viewers unimpressed by such preciosity may warm instead to Sabuda’s simple, harmonious palette and the ways he infuses his scenes with subtle artistic elements, such as the visual echoes in the dramatic edges of a rooster’s spread feathers and a windblown mane or sinuous lines of white defining both a stream and the horse drinking from it. As usual, durability plays second fiddle to getting figures and settings to unfold in astonishing, seemingly magical ways. Also as usual, the special effects are well worth taking the extra care required to keep them intact.
An exhilarating ride—for horse lovers, art lovers, and students of design. (Pop-up picture book. 5-8)