Title: Hello, Horse (Nature Storybooks)
Author: Vivian French
Illustrator: Catherine Rayner
Publisher: Walker Books
Genre: Children’s picture book, Nature
Book format: Paperback
Description: I have a friend called Catherine, and she has a horse called Shannon. Shannon’s beautiful, with a coat like soft velvet – and very kind. I think she might just become my friend too!
*Free copy provided by publisher for review…
Review: This is a lovely book with a lovely story and some interesting information about horses. ‘Hello, Horse’ is part of the Nature Storybooks collection which is a collection of books that focus on different animals and plant life, introducing them with facts through interesting stories. The story in this one is simple but so very sweet. The narrator, a child, we never know their name, begins by saying that Catherine, a adult woman, has a friend called Shannon. Shannon is a horse and the narrator goes on to meet her, learning more about horses before eventually riding her.
The story is simple but follows this narrator as they get to know Shannon the horse. As well as the main story, which is lovely to see unfold, especially with the added illustrations, we also get to learn some interesting horse facts, such as the height of the horse, or why they are brushed. The extra factual information is written in a smaller text, compared to the larger text of the story and I like the way this is done as it doesn’t interfere with the main tale and can be read later or during the telling of the story.
The story has a lovely ending with the narrator becoming close to the horse and the illustrations really help to emphasis just how lovely and sweet the horse is and the relationship the horse has to the child she meets. I really do love the illustrations in this book, the pictures are a mixture of painted images with some pencil markings and at some points some of the countryside plants just look like bits of splattered paints. It really is a mixture of media but I love how it looks and it does work really well! The horse just looks so adorable and sweet and when you get to the ending of the book there’s some extra information that just makes reading this all the more special.
At the end of the book there are some author notes which explain how the illustrator is the same Catherine in the story, and that Shannon is a real horse. There’s even a picture of the real Shannon and this just made me smile so much! It somehow makes this particular Nature Storybook from the series all hte more special and I’m sure many kids will enjoy seeing the picture of the real horse alongside the one that’s illustrated in the story. As well as the author notes there’s a little more information on horses too, and the back page has some notes to parents and teachers on how to use the book which is a good bonus.
I’d really recommend this book to anyone who wants to get their kids interested in horses or nature in general. This book really does appeal, the images really make me smile and it’s also a good story for kids who may feel nervous around horses, which the narrator is the first time they meet her. Overall a lovely story book and one which I can’t help but want to look back at and share again and again.
Do you like this book or the illustrations? What about horses, do you like them or have you ever tried riding one? Let me know what you think in the comments below 🙂