Gr. 2-4. Byars blends fantasy and suspense in this beginning chapter book about a miniature horse. Curious Little Horse accidentally falls into a river that carries him far away from his home valley and his mother. Withstanding numerous perils along the way, Little Horse emerges in a new world in which flowers are the size of trees and birds are terrifying predators--the human-sized world, as children learn through the appealing, detailed illustrations. McPhail's play with proportions is a bit awkward, and letting the pictures, rather than the text, reveal most of the clues is not entirely successful. What's more, many of the pictures don't correspond to the action on the same page. But Byars uses language that's just right for beginning readers, and children who decide to tackle the story will enjoy the danger and drama of Little Horse's fast-moving journey and look forward to a sequel, suggested by the ending. Not exceptional, but a solid choice for animal lovers making the transition to chapter books. Gillian Engberg
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About the Author
Betsy Byars is the author of many award-winning and popular books for children, including The Seven Treasure Haunts and Tornado. Ms. Byars was awarded the Newbery Medal for The Summer of the Swans. She and her husband live in South Carolina.
David McPhail is the author and illustrator of many books for children, including the popular Pig Pig stories. He lives with his family in Portsmouth, New Hampshire.