A Horse in the House and Other Strange but True Animal Stories

Overview

Amazing real-life tales of animals — combined with delightfully surreal illustrations — make for a captivating book of a different stripe.

Whoever heard of a horse who lived in a house (while its owners lived next door)? Or two donkeys who had a marriage feast? Or an official spying cat who was wired for sound? These stories and many more — all quite strange, all very true — come from newspaper reports around the world. With paintings by Kathy Osborn hinting at magic realism and...

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Overview

Amazing real-life tales of animals — combined with delightfully surreal illustrations — make for a captivating book of a different stripe.

Whoever heard of a horse who lived in a house (while its owners lived next door)? Or two donkeys who had a marriage feast? Or an official spying cat who was wired for sound? These stories and many more — all quite strange, all very true — come from newspaper reports around the world. With paintings by Kathy Osborn hinting at magic realism and journalist Gail Ablow’s wonderfully witty text, this fascinating collection has much to say about creatures ranging from hippos to humans, who may in fact be the strangest animals of all.

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Editorial Reviews

Karen MacPherson
Bright, whimsical illustrations by Kathy Osborn expand the humor in this book, which is sure to be a crowd pleaser.
—The Washington Post
Kirkus Reviews
What at first appears to be a collection of urban legends is instead a list of 16 amazing animal tales from around the world. Journalist Ablow describes events in which animals acted or were treated in ways that were a little out of the ordinary. Readers learn of a cat with an antenna tail, a komodo dragon that experienced acupuncture and an elephant that received dentures, among others. Each tale is based on a true event with sources cited in a meticulous bibliography. The inherent danger in writing a book of this nature is that the stories may simply come across as tabloid amusements. Yet while Ablow's surprisingly short commentary doesn't allow for much contemplation beyond the immediate events themselves, the tales are consistently interesting and worthy of inclusion. Ablow sometimes confuses the issue by creating (as the introduction admits) "colorful flights of fancy" that make the collection appear to be more fantasy than fact. That aside, this is an amusing compilation of strange truths that can be enjoyed despite its confusing presentation. (Picture book/nonfiction. 6-10)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780763628383
  • Publisher: Candlewick Press
  • Publication date: 9/25/2007
  • Pages: 40
  • Age range: 6 - 9 Years
  • Lexile: 880L (what's this?)
  • Product dimensions: 8.45 (w) x 12.09 (h) x 0.42 (d)

Meet the Author

Gail Ablow is an award-winning broadcast journalist who has produced documentaries, news, and interviews for PBS, CNN, ABC, and other networks. She lives in Brooklyn, New York.

Kathy Osborn has illustrated several children’s books and one novel. She began collecting news stories about animals in 1999 and wanted to illustrate them to satisfy her curiosity. She lives in Brooklyn, New York.

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