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Returning Nicholas Hardcover – October, 1995
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From Publishers Weekly
DeSaix (In the Back Seat) connects with the psyche of horse-crazy young girls in this mystical equine adventure. Antonia longs for a horse, so when a carnival comes to town, she heads straight for the carousel. She rides one of the wooden steeds, but "to her surprise she found herself on the broad back of a real horse." She has gone back in time, to a period when the horse she rides-Nicholas-serves as a model for the carved horse of the carousel. Antonia returns the lost Nicholas to his grateful carnival owners, and, when Antonia returns to the present, a woman at the carnival gives her a carved horse to thank her for returning Nicholas all those years ago. Despite its convoluted plot, the story is oddly appealing, largely due to hazy, overcast pencil drawings that virtually breathe fairy-tale. This may be a book that only a horse lover could love, but there are quite a few of them out there. Ages 4-8.
Copyright 1995 Reed Business Information, Inc.
From School Library Journal
PreSchool-Grade 3?A surprising and intriguing fantasy. Antonia visits a carnival, meets an old woman who runs the carousel, and takes a ride on a handsome steed named Nicholas. Suddenly, the horse becomes real and transports her to the past. There she meets his owners, a girl named Magda and her grandfather, who is carving carousel animals. They are itinerants (possibly Roms) and are grateful for Nicholas's return. Abruptly, Antonia finds herself back in the present, where the carnival woman (obviously Magda grown old) presents her with a carving of a girl on a horse. In a satisfyingly magical ending, Magda tells her, "My grandfather made that for you. I never thought I would have to wait so long to give it to you." The story is capably told. The illustrations are both photorealistic and painterly at the same time. The palette is rich and warm, shadowy with contrastingly luminous highlights that lead readers to expect drama with a hint of mystery. Depictions of Antonia's present are neatly boxed and framed. Pictures of her in the past are bordered with the ornate scrollwork one might find on an antique carousel. A winning combination of magic, mystery, time travel, and wish fulfillment that young equestrians will relish.?Kate McClelland, Perrot Memorial Library, Greenwich, CT
Copyright 1996 Reed Business Information, Inc.
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