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The Water Horse Paperback – November 13, 2007
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“A rich, mostly tender fairy tale that combines elements of such children’s classics as The Secret of Roan Inish, E.T.: The Extra-Terrestrial, and Born Free. . . . Combining the best of fantasy and somber reflection, The Water Horse is a lovely ride.” —The Washington Post on the film adaptation
“Well-written, fast-paced . . . with appealing, distinctive characters, humor, and drama. King-Smith’s imaginative spin on an old myth makes the outrageous possible.” —Booklist
“One of the most delightful children’s authors.” —The Guardian on Dick King-Smith
From the Back Cover
When eight-year-old Kirstie brings home a strange egg from the Scottish shore, her family never expects it to hatch. But the next day, Kirstie discovers a baby sea monster swimming in her bathtub! Part horse, part toad, part turtle, and part crocodile, he's the oddest-looking creature Kirstie's family has ever seen. Only Kirstie's grandfather knows what the beastie really is -- a Water Horse!
This lovable creature is the perfect pet. The only trouble is, he can't stop growing! He gets bigger. And BIGGER. And BIGGER. Before long, he's outgrown nearly every loch in sight. Will they ever find a home that's large enough for their Water Horse?
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Eventually Mother, Grumble, and even Father when he returns home all find out about the creature. They decide to call it Crusoe. As it grows, what can they do with it? There is the fish pond, but nearby are enemies such as otters and herons, and the pond freezes in winter. Then there is the small lochan close to their house, but a lot of traffic goes by, and the family is afraid that someone will spot Crusoe, who continues to grow bigger and bigger. Where do you think that he ends up? Dick King-Smith is best known as award-winning author of Babe: The Gallant Pig. We have read and reviewed some of his other books, such as Harry’s Mad, The School Mouse, and Mr. Ape.
We watched the 2007 film The Water Horse directed by Jay Russell with screenplay written by Robert Nelson Jacobs, and starring Alex Etel, recently as our family video. It was so intriguing that when I saw that the movie was based on a Dick King-Smith children's novel, I wanted to read the book. Although significant differences exist between the film and the novel, there is no content in either which parents need be concerned about. It is not only a sweet, charming story that children seem to enjoy greatly but is also a worthwhile adventure for readers of all ages as an imaginative explanation for a very well known legend.
As far as the backbone of the story, it offered little in the way of literary elements. I’ve certainly read children’s books with stronger character development than this one. Nonetheless, it is a sweet story that children seem to greatly enjoy.