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Rosie's Magic Horse Hardcover – February 26, 2013
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Rosie finds a discarded ice-pop stick and adds it to the others collected in her cigar box. Drawn with expressive little faces, the sticks discuss what they can be without their ice pops. Maybe a horse, muses the new stick. Meanwhile, Rosie overhears her parents say that they can’t pay their bills. Longing to help, she falls asleep and dreams of Stickerino, a flying, talking horse that gallops out of the cigar box and takes her on a treasure hunt. The next morning, Rosie surprises her dad with a chest full of gold. While the story has all the improbability of a child’s own fantasy, the telling is lively, and the artwork is captivating. When the clock strikes midnight and rises into the air carrying Rosie on its back, the book soars into realms of imagination and hope. Blake’s expressive ink drawings with watercolor washes depict, with equal conviction, parents discussing the family’s troubles, Stickerino soaring over distant lands, and pirates lining up at an ice-cream cart. A playful, picture-book confection for imaginative children. Preschool-Grade 2. --Carolyn Phelan
Blake collaborated with Hoban on the Whitbread-winning How Tom Beat Captain Najork and other titles, and his ink-and-watercolor drawings are as antic as ever. Rosie's house is cozy and lived-in, with old drawings on the wall, and toys and books crowding her dresser. The pirate scenes are crammed with cheerful chaos, and the light, weightlessness, and long horizons of Stickerino's flight make the impossible seem close. Hoban's books asked big questions, and the answers were sometimes murky and mournful, but this last one is a happy farewell salute.
—Publishers Weekly (starred review)
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Candlewick Press, 2013
Recommended for grades 1-4
What child isn't burdened by the worries their parents voice over financial troubles? Rosie is among the many that meander off to bed with that unfortunate knowledge. When she dreams of a magical horse taking her away to find treasure she isn't the only one living a dream. Her collection of icy pop sticks are living out their dream of transforming into something more than used up icy pop sticks. And in the morning we ask ourselves...was it a dream?
Warning: A little girl steals from pirates, with help from an ice-pop-stick dream horse that distracts the pirates first by turning into an ice cream stand and then by tickling them. Also, Rosie and the horse fly over a desert scene including vultures and bones. If this makes you uncomfortable, then this is not the book for you. But maybe someone should sneak a copy to your kids.