A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this book.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that this is a stimulating read for horse lovers. Thoughtful illustrations depict horses at work and play, offering the novice horse enthusiast a solid introduction to various breeds. Any references to violence are mild: a horse gets trapped in a fire, and a fox is hunted for sport.
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What's the story?
ALBUM OF HORSES details the lives and characteristics of two dozen horse breeds, one to each chapter, and the last two chapters are short stories about horses. The animals profiled range from the appaloosa and the Arab to the Tennessee walking horse and the Welsh mountain pony.
Each chapter contains one full-page, full-color illustration of the breed under discussion. The softly shaded drawings show horses in a variety of actions: frolicking with children, prancing in a parade, hauling farm equipment. The margins throughout the book are illustrated with smaller black-and-white sketches that illustrate minor points in the text: a Spaniard atop his mustang, two farmers arguing over who has the best Belgian.
The book concludes with an author's note that describes her lifelong fascination with horses.
Is it any good?
The writing tends to be flowery. One line from "The Percheron" starts, "Young Mark, a lad with a lick of red hair and a freckle-dusted nose ... ." Still, the delightful narrative on the Percheron breed was the favorite tale of one 9-year-old girl, "because it was about a real, live boy and how he loved horses."
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about the various breeds of horses featured in the book -- and parents can reinforce the fact that owning and caring for a horse is a full-time job. Would you like to own a horse someday? What are some of the things you would need to do to make sure your horse led a happy and healthy life? Which horse breed is your favorite? Why? Were there breeds profiled in the book that you had never heard of before?