The Water Horse

Book review by
Matt Berman, Common Sense Media
The Water Horse Book Poster Image
Another sweet animal tale from Babe author.

Parents say

age 7+
Based on 3 reviews

Kids say

age 8+
Based on 1 review

A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this book.

Violence & Scariness

The Water Horse eats a swan and other birds.


What parents need to know

Parents need to know that aside from the Water Horse eating a swan, there is little to be concerned about here.

Wondering if The Water Horse is OK for your kids?

Parents: Set preferences and get age-appropriate recommendations with Common Sense Media Plus. Join now

Continue reading Show less

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Parent Written byCyndi M. January 27, 2017
My daughter is almost eight and loved this movie. If you enjoy sharing both fantasy and facts with your kids, believe in discussion after the film, then this... Continue reading
Parent Written bybje July 11, 2015
Kid, 12 years old May 30, 2011

A heartwarming story about friendship and caring for others!

I loved this book! It was a charming read! It had positive messages about friendship and caring for others! It is not violent. Unless you consider the water hor... Continue reading

What's the story?

When Kirstie finds what appears to be an unusually large fish egg on the beach below her house, she takes it home and pops it in the bathtub. When a strange creature emerges from it, she and Angus feed it sardines. Their grandfather, Grumble, recognizes it as a mythical Water Horse, and they name it Crusoe.

To get it out of the tub, they put it in a goldfish pond. Soon, though, it grows too large, and the pond is in danger of freezing, so they move it to a nearby lochan. But as he continues to grow at an alarming rate they face another problem -- how to keep the friendly beast, who associates humans with food and companionship, hidden. And where can they take him next?

Is it any good?

Dick King-Smith's specialty is gentle, fairly easy-to-read animal stories, and this one, though it's about a mythical creature, follows his tried-and-true formula. Though it lacks most of the elements most authors seem to think are necessary -- a villain, suspense, breathtaking drama, potty humor, nasty or heroic kids, ineffectual adults -- it's as pleasurable and satisfying in its calm, reassuring way as a cold evening in front of a warm fire.

There's something so reassuring about a writer who can make a story this delightful and fun without all the bells and whistles. Just a little light humor, likable characters, an engrossing setup, a little authorial magic, and presto -- a satisfying read.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about the Loch Ness Monster. Do you think it could be real? Why or why not? How might a story like this have gotten started? Your children might be interested in doing a little research, and seeing supposed photos of the monster.

Book details

Our editors recommend

Top advice and articles

Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.

See how we rate

About these links

Common Sense Media, a nonprofit organization, earns a small affiliate fee from Amazon or iTunes when you use our links to make a purchase. Thank you for your support.

Read more

Our ratings are based on child development best practices. We display the minimum age for which content is developmentally appropriate. The star rating reflects overall quality.

Learn how we rate