Little Horse

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Little Horse is an early chapter book and tells the story of how Little Horse, who lives in a valley with other little horses, accidentally falls into a stream that carries him away from his home. He first lands on an island where a giant hawk swoops down on him. Heading back into the water, he reaches land again and finds himself in a forest, but instead of the little trees with which he is familiar in his home valley, it is a forest of colorful flowers. Frightened by a dog, he tries to flee but is picked up by a hand which tucks him inside the dark, warm pocket of a pair of overalls and takes him to a farm where there are other horses, but they are giants compared to him. His new home is a toy stall in a little boy’s room. However, he is already dreaming about his journey back to his home. This is obviously a quasi-fantasy book, but small children, who have to live in a society where so much is made for larger adults, should be able to identify with Little Horse’s predicament of finding himself in a world where everything is huge. In the sequel, Little House on His own, Little Horse had never known the sky to be so black and the air so still, but a storm sets him free from the fence holding him captive, so that he can try to find his way back to the valley of the little horses and his mother. But where should he turn, and how will he ever get home alive with all of the obstacles facing him, such as unfriendly horses, a malicious bird, a pouncing cat, a smoky fire, and more? Betsy Byars, who is the Newberry Medal winning author of The Summer of the Swans, has created an enjoyable chapter book fantasy that provides more complex sentence structure than what is normally in easy readers. Young children should find it delightful.

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