Review Blog

Jul 09 2018

Hello horse by Vivian French

cover image

Ill. by Catherine Rayner. Walker Books, 2018 ISBN 9781406349948
(Age: 4+) Highly recommended. Themes: Horses, Overcoming fear, Confidence. Through an afternoon spent with Shannon the horse owned by the illustrator of this lovely story, a child learns to overcome her fear of horses, and learns to ride.
With little steps, Catherine introduces the child to her horse, Shannon, a horse she has owned for twenty years. The child is given a carrot to feed the horse, reminded to place it flat on her hand so the horse can tell what is carrot and what is fingers. She is then allowed to lead the horse around the paddock, brush and groom her, and finally to ride her. Each little step brings the child closer to becoming a friend of the horse, riding her and feeling confident with the large animal.
French's words tell us of the afternoon with the horse, telling the reader of why things are done, giving background to the way the horse is treated, and instructing the reader in the ways of a horse. So on the pages where the horse is groomed, for example the reader will not only see what is being done, and read in the story of the child and Catherine doing this to the horse, but there is information at the bottom of the page in a different font which tells the reader the facts of the undertaking and h why it is done. These facts are on most pages and an index at the end of the story allows the reader to quickly find the page again.
This beautifully presented picture book with illustrations that will make every reader want to go out and pat the nearest horse, has a double page at the end which contains the index, a short piece of factual information about the horse and its owner, and a reference to more information along with small illustrations about the brushes used for grooming.
Readers will love picking up this book, seeing the child take little steps to overcoming her fear of the horse, and in this way the reader may equate the role of little steps in overcoming others worries they may have.
Fran Knight

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