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The Water Horse
A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this book.
What parents need to know
- Parents say
- Kids say
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.