A RIDE ON THE RED MARE'S BACK by Ursula K. Le Guin
Kirkus Star

A RIDE ON THE RED MARE'S BACK

by & illustrated by
Age Range: 4 & up
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KIRKUS REVIEW

A beautifully crafted tale, drawing on Scandinavian folklore (including Peer Gynt) and recalling the theme of Andersen's The Snow Queen, yet told with such freshness and grace that it seems entirely new. A girl goes out in the snow to look for her little brother--snatched by trolls while hunting with their father--taking the scarf she has knit for him, a loaf of her mother's bread, and her little toy horse (in the traditional Swedish design). When a troll challenges her, she gives him the bread, and he tells her that her brother is in the "High House." Coming to life, the horse takes the girl to the trolls' mountain home and diverts them while she finds her bewitched brother. The warm scarf recalls him to himself; the morning sun captures the trolls in stone but also returns the horse to her wooden form. The children, following the "fine, thin thread of silk or silver" that is their mother's voice, find their way safely home. In a dozen spare, lovely full-page watercolors, Downing confirms the universality of the story's powerful symbols while capturing the suspense of the journey into the unknown and the joy of the brilliant, flower-bedecked steed. With delicate borders ornamenting the text pages, the format is unusually appealing. An entrancing young reader, perfect for sharing aloud. (Fiction. 4+)

Pub Date: Aug. 1st, 1992
ISBN: 0-531-05991-X
Page count: 48pp
Publisher: Orchard
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1st, 1992




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