On Sable Island, off the Nova Scotia coast, a young stallion finds a home and his own band of wild horses, surviving in spite of winter storms and even hurricanes.
Unlike the horses on Assateague and other U.S. barrier islands, the Sable Island herd of 300 has been left completely wild, protected by the Canadian government since 1960. Markle here introduces them to young readers with an imagined story. Purposely dropped off from a schooner, perhaps in the mid-1700s, the young horse, possibly bred for racing, spends his first year with a group of “bachelors,” learning to eat the sand- and ice-crusted marsh grass and to find water in frozen holes. Come spring, he finds a band of mares and takes over as leader, fending off a challenger and surviving a monster storm by taking his band to shelter between the dunes. This simple narrative has been illustrated with glowing oil paintings on double-page spreads. Every scene will delight. The animals are shown in a variety of postures and activities: rearing to challenge gray seals or each other, knee deep in a marsh full of flowers, in fog and snow, galloping free, running from a storm and facing the sunset. Children perplexed by the unexplained abandonment of the horse will find some clarification in the author’s note; lists of books and websites complete the package.
Terrific for young horse lovers. (Picture book. 5-9)