If I Had a Horse, illustrated and written by Gianna Marino

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Children , Reviews

If I Had a Horse, illustrated and written by Gianna Marino

Title: If I Had a Horse
By: Marino, Gianna
Published: 2018
Call #: JPicture Marin.G

Gianna Marino is a chameleon as an illustrator. When you look at her comical cautionary tale Too Tall Houses, you notice that it’s very different from the melancholic whale bonding tale Following Papa’s Song or the slapsticky Night Animals. I love those books, and others by her, but I have to say If I Had a Horse may now be my favorite book by her. Done completely in silhouettes, the gentle book shows a girl dreaming of befriending a horse. We first see her holding out an apple to the creature. Each page turn shows him getting closer and closer to her. He munches on the apple, and she hugs him and then starts riding on him. Vibrant colors bring out all kinds of emotions, showing the horse and girl not agreeing in some spreads, but then reconciling. The spare text can be applied to any friendship with its ups and downs. What’s interesting about the book is its a story about conquering fears without being overly preachy. The shadows create moods, and the moods create images that stay in the memory long after you close the book. It’s a mesmerizing masterpiece.


Today a reader, tomorrow a leader.

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