If I Had a Horse
If I Had a Horse
$15.29
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Annotation: Presents a girl imagining what life would be like with a horse.
Catalog Number: #152213
Format: Publisher's Hardcover
All Formats: Search
Copyright Date: 2018
Edition Date: 2018
Pages: 40
Availability: Available
ISBN: 1-626-72908-5
ISBN 13: 978-1-626-72908-7
Dewey: E
LCCN: 2017944645
Dimensions: 26 x 29 cm.
Language: English
Reviews:
ALA Booklist
In this beautifully illustrated picture book, a girl imagines what it would be like to have a horse. She would offer him a big apple. And while he might be shy at first, he would become a friend and, eventually, let her ride him. "I would have to be strong. / Like him. / He would have to be gentle. / Like me." Together, they would ride off to explore new places. "And together . . . we could do anything." In the artwork, the girl transforms from a timid child to a confident one, standing on the running horse's back. Besides showing growing connection between the characters, the artwork creates striking effects with overlapping layers of washes, creating a dreamlike sense of depth and mystery in the shadowy scenes. Colors are often limited in individual illustrations: one is painted using washes of reds with varying shades and intensity, while another highlights the characters in shades of green, set against a background painted in yellows. This idyllic picture-book reverie will captivate children who dream of horses.
Horn Book
A young girl fantasizes about life with a horse--taming him, exploring with him, befriending other horses, being fearless. Saturated illustrations in purple, blue, green, and orange capture girl and horse in flowing silhouette, conveying their distinctive movements, while background details emerge through tints in the wash. The girl's confident self-talk will hearten readers facing challenges or learning to dream big.
Kirkus Reviews
A young child imagines having a horse for a companion.It is the stunning illustrations that will catch readers' eyes first. Unusually rich silhouettes that portray motion-filled interaction fill each double-page spread. The lush gouache paintings depict the child and the horse—some pictures closely cropped—in silhouette with minimal backgrounds that are rendered in bold, often primary colors that use the diffusion of the medium to suggest detail. They are evocative of movement, dreaming, and daring: a child's imagination run wild and free. They pair perfectly with the text, in which the young child, of indeterminate gender and race, imagines what it would be like to have a horse: "If I had a horse, we would be brave together." While the child's longing is wistful, at its core it is also inspirational, as the story is an allegory ("I would have to be strong. Like him") about how it takes discipline, trust, fearlessness, and courage to make dreams come true. And when the child says, "I might have to tame him," readers may understand the metaphor for taming one's own eagerness and impetuousness that could get in the way of dreams realized.Readers will almost feel the wind in their hair and hear the thunder of hooves as they are inspired to pursue their dreams. Beautiful. (Picture book. 3-7)
Publishers Weekly
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.)

School Library Journal
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 momentinside out. Wendy Lukehart, District of Columbia Public Library
Starred Review for Kirkus Reviews
A young child imagines having a horse for a companion.It is the stunning illustrations that will catch readers' eyes first. Unusually rich silhouettes that portray motion-filled interaction fill each double-page spread. The lush gouache paintings depict the child and the horse—some pictures closely cropped—in silhouette with minimal backgrounds that are rendered in bold, often primary colors that use the diffusion of the medium to suggest detail. They are evocative of movement, dreaming, and daring: a child's imagination run wild and free. They pair perfectly with the text, in which the young child, of indeterminate gender and race, imagines what it would be like to have a horse: "If I had a horse, we would be brave together." While the child's longing is wistful, at its core it is also inspirational, as the story is an allegory ("I would have to be strong. Like him") about how it takes discipline, trust, fearlessness, and courage to make dreams come true. And when the child says, "I might have to tame him," readers may understand the metaphor for taming one's own eagerness and impetuousness that could get in the way of dreams realized.Readers will almost feel the wind in their hair and hear the thunder of hooves as they are inspired to pursue their dreams. Beautiful. (Picture book. 3-7)
Reviewing Agencies: - Find Other Reviewed Titles
Starred Review for Kirkus Reviews
ALA Booklist (12/1/17)
Horn Book (4/1/19)
Publishers Weekly
School Library Journal (12/1/17)
Wilson's Children's Catalog
Word Count: 130
Reading Level: 1.4
Interest Level: K-3
Accelerated Reader: reading level: 1.4 / points: 0.5 / quiz: 508773 / grade: Lower Grades
Lexile: AD360L

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.


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