Are You A Horse?


For young cowboys and little scientists, an ARE YOU MY MOTHER? for the 21st century!

For his birthday, Roy's freinds give him a saddle and some very specific instructions:
1. Find a horse.
2. Enjoy the ride!

But there's a problem; Roy doesn't know what a horse IS! So he sets off to find out with hilarious results: A snake tells him to look for a creature with legs. A crab ...

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For young cowboys and little scientists, an ARE YOU MY MOTHER? for the 21st century!

For his birthday, Roy's freinds give him a saddle and some very specific instructions:
1. Find a horse.
2. Enjoy the ride!

But there's a problem; Roy doesn't know what a horse IS! So he sets off to find out with hilarious results: A snake tells him to look for a creature with legs. A crab has six legs, but he's too unfriendly to be a horse. A chameleon smiles at Roy, but horses don't change color... What's a horseless cowboy to do?

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Editorial Reviews

Children's Literature - Phyllis Kennemer
Cowboy Roy receives a saddle for his birthday, but he has a problem. He does not know what a horse is. His friends send him out to find one. Roy is a grown man dressed in the paraphernalia of a cowboy wandering about on foot carrying a saddle. The premise that he has never seen a horse is extremely farfetched. Each object or animal that Roy approaches gives him a hint about horse characteristics. The wagon tells him the horse is a living thing. The cactus reports that it is an animal. Other hints are provided by a snake, a crab, a chameleon, an owl, a pig, a sloth, a lion, and a zebra. That all these things are within walking distance of each other contributes to the absurdity of the story. The large, brightly colored illustrations feature a clueless cowboy talking to animals who exhibit more personality than he does. Young children might like listening to the story and knowing that they are in on the joke, but even the youngest will likely think that last illustration is just too ridiculous for words. Reviewer: Phyllis Kennemer, Ph.D.
School Library Journal

K-Gr 3

This humorous picture book requires a total suspension of disbelief. The premise that a man wearing Western clothing and sitting in a saloon does not know what to do with a saddle he receives for his birthday is delightfully silly. The instructions that accompany the gift advise him to "1. Find a horse 2. Enjoy the ride." However, the man does not know what a horse is so he asks a red wagon, "Are you a horse?" "'Nope, I'm an old wagon,' said the wagon. 'A horse is a living thing.'" He asks a cactus the same question, and it replies, "I bristle at the thought! I'm a cactus. A horse is an animal." Then he queries various animals absurdly found in the same habitat: a snake, a crab, a lion, and a zebra. The crab declares, "I'll pinch you good! A horse is friendly. I'm a crab! NOW GO AWAY!" The conclusion delivers a big chuckle. The gouache and India ink illustrations are comical and colorful, and the cartoon expressions capture the burlesque nature of the story. There are some clever visual interpretations. One series of six panels conveys the lengthy passage of time that it takes for a sloth to give his answer. A goofy giggle-inducing read-aloud.-Kirsten Cutler, Sonoma County Library, CA

Kirkus Reviews
Cowboy Roy gets a saddle for his birthday, complete with instructions: Find a horse and go for a ride. Trouble is, despite Roy's hat, boots and bandanna, he doesn't know what a horse is-so he goes to find one, encountering first a wagon, then a cactus, then a snake and so on as he narrows down what characteristics describe a horse. Rash's gouache illustrations fill each spread with bold color and movement, and his animals are lively, but his vacuous, blank-eyed people don't appeal. The Wild West theme of the beginning falters when Roy encounters a crab-which looks distinctly peculiar against a saguaro-decorated background-chameleon, sloth-which provides a decent sight gag as its reply to Roy spreads itself out over several panels and, evidently, hours-and lion. Roy's plight lacks either the sweet naivete of Are You My Mother? or the zaniness of Don't Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus. It's silliness without sweetness or charm, and the surprise ending falls flat. (Picture book. 3-6)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780439724173
  • Publisher: Scholastic, Inc.
  • Publication date: 3/1/2009
  • Pages: 32
  • Sales rank: 381,090
  • Age range: 4 - 8 Years
  • Product dimensions: 10.10 (w) x 10.10 (h) x 0.50 (d)

Meet the Author

Andy Rash was born on a mountain top in Tennessee and raised in the small polymer town of Kingsport, where all green plastic soda bottles come from. He earned a Bachelor of Fine Arts from the Savannah College of Art and Design during a rather rocky period in that school's history, and a Masters of Fine Art at the School of Visual Arts in New York while things seemed to be going relatively smoothly. Since graduating, Andy has been a freelance illustrator, working for many national magazines and newspapers. He has also taught illustration at the School of Visual Arts.

In addition, Andy finds himself at the beginning of a remarkable career in children's books. His first picture book, The Robots Are Coming, an American Bookseller Pick of the Lists, was published by Arthur A. Levine Books / Scholastic. He also illustrated Daniel Pinkwater's Fat Camp Commandos and Fat Camp Commandos Go West, and his second picture book, Agent A to Agent Z for Arthur A. Levine Books / Scholastic.

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Sort by: Showing 1 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted November 24, 2009

    Clever story with a surprise ending.

    Our 3 year old daughter loves this book. The story lends itself to extra animation and her chuckles make it worth the effort. I love to choose this book when reading with an extra audience of visiting grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins and friends. Our daughter and I both love the anticipation of their response and giggles. Its now on our top 5 gift list of books to give to friends. Enjoy!

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