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If I Had a Horse
Contributor(s): Marino, Gianna
ISBN: 1626729085     ISBN-13: 9781626729087
Publisher: Roaring Brook
    OUR PRICE: $16.20  
Product Type: School And Library
Published: January 2018
Annotation: If I Had a Horse is an inspiring picture book with simple text and gorgeous, impressionistic artwork from acclaimed author-illustrator Gianna Marino about a girl imagining what life would be like with a horse.
Additional Information
Library of Congress Subjects:
Horses; Fiction.
Imagination; Fiction.
Human-animal relationship; Fiction.
BISAC Categories:
- Juvenile Fiction | Animals | Horses
- Juvenile Fiction | Social Issues | New Experience
- Juvenile Fiction | Imagination & Play
Dewey: [E]
LCCN: bl2018002470
Academic/Grade Level: Kindergarten, Ages 5-6
Book type: Easy Fiction
Physical Information: 11.25" H x 10.00" W x 0.55" (1.08 lbs)
Descriptions, Reviews, Etc.

Contributor Bio(s): Gianna Marino is the acclaimed author and illustrator of the children's book If I Had a Horse.

Reviewed by Publishers Weekly Reviews (PW Reviews 2017 November #1)

In a wistful and hopeful voice, a girl imagines the possibilities that could come from having a horse. The two could learn from each other ("I would have to be strong. Like him. He would have to be gentle. Like me") and, after getting to know each other, become friends ("We would explore places we've never been"). The repetition of the phrase "If I had a horse" pulls readers forward, but Marino (Splotch) keeps the story's energy subdued. Using watery washes of color, she depicts girl and horse in silhouettes that stretch across the pages, placing them against gestural backdrops of waving grass, towering trees, and distant pine-studded hills. As the book progresses, the illustrations shift from warm reds, yellows, and oranges to cool greens, blues, and violets, suggesting morning becoming midday, then night. Marino's silhouettes should make it easy for readers to imagine themselves in the story, a contemplative tribute to children's deeply felt desires for a pet and how one's imagination can almost bring those fantasies to life. Ages 4–8. Agent: Deborah Warren, East-West Literary. (Jan.)

Copyright 2017 Publishers Weekly.

Reviewed by School Library Journal Reviews (SLJ Reviews 2017 December)

PreS-Gr 2—Many children dream of riding and owning a horse; perhaps this is related to the wish for wings, since the speed and relative height achieved when galloping comes about as close as one can get to flying. This book is made for living that fantasy vicariously. Employing silhouettes against ethereal, misty landscapes, Marino's gouache spreads take readers through a range of sentiments as horse and girl develop their relationship. It starts tentatively with an outstretched hand and an apple on a monochromatic (red) spread, the two figures on opposite sides of the gutter. As they get acquainted, the sky is rendered in yellow, while the background and foreground images are layered yellow/blue/green. Hair and mane are windblown throughout, a choice that adds energy to the compositions, as does the movement of the animal. After a fall, the child realizes: "I would have to be strong. Like him./He would have to be gentle. Like me." Together they explore and race, while the rider contemplates the thrill of the wind and the bond with such a powerful animal. In the final spread, she is standing on his back, arms outstretched as they disappear off the page. A restrained, compact text allows the high-spirited pictures to pull listeners into the experience, feeling their own emotions as they ride along. VERDICT An invigorating opportunity for individuals or groups to participate in a glorious moment—inside out.—Wendy Lukehart, District of Columbia Public Library

Copyright 2017 School Library Journal.