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Editorial Reviews

Children's Literature
Years ago, near the sea, Chestnut the horse pulls the wagon for Mr. Decker's delivery service. On the morning of the birthday of the mayor's daughter Jenny, after the wagon is loaded, Mr. Decker falls asleep. When the ringing of the tower clock and Chestnut's impatient stamps and whinnies fail to wake him, Chestnut sets out by himself to deliver the important items for Jenny's birthday. Despite the fog and mud, Chestnut finds his way to the baker to give him the flour he needs to bake the birthday cake, to the hat maker with the ribbons to finish Jenny's bonnet, to the candy maker with sugar, and finally to Jenny's with the punch bowl and her presents. No one even notices that he is alone. Mr. Decker is pleased and proud of his clever horse. And the party, of course, is a big success. The warm-hearted, gentle story is suitably matched by Whyte's subtle naturalistic watercolors. The double-page scenes catch the spirit of a 19th century seacoast town with cobblestone streets, sailing ships in the harbor, and the white-steepled church. Chestnut is portrayed with special sensitivity in images from various perspectives, even a birds-eye view as he takes off alone. 2004, Peachtree Publishers, Ages 4 to 8.
—Ken Marantz and Sylvia Marantz
School Library Journal
K-Gr 3-Set a "long time ago, in a city by the sea," this story tells how a loyal horse saves the day. Chestnut belongs to Mr. Decker, who runs a delivery service. On the morning of the mayor's daughter's birthday party, he is charged with bringing supplies to various shopkeepers-flour to the baker for the cake, bows to the hatmaker for Jenny's birthday bonnet, etc. After loading the wagon, Mr. Decker falls back to sleep and it is up to Chestnut to make the deliveries on his own. Traveling through thick early morning fog, the animal makes his way through the city. At each stop, the shopkeepers are so busy with last-minute party arrangements that they do not notice Mr. Decker's absence. The man awakens when Chestnut returns to the stable and is filled with relief and pride when he realizes what his faithful horse has done. The airy, soft-hued watercolor illustrations are as lovely as the lilting language. Chestnut has a "kind eye" as equestrians would say about a good-natured horse, which is evident in his interactions with the human characters. Varied perspectives add interest and drama to the artwork. Young horse lovers will embrace this charming tale.-Carol Schene, Taunton Public Schools, MA Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
Every day, Mr. Decker takes his horse Chestnut over the same route, making deliveries to the baker's, the hatmaker's, the candy shop, and the mayor's house. On the mayor's daughter's birthday, Mr. Decker falls asleep-but Chestnut saves the day, delivering flour for the birthday cake, bows for the birthday bonnet, sugar for the birthday treat, and finally, the birthday gifts themselves, all by himself. Whyte's lovely watercolors place the story firmly in mid-1800s Charleston, South Carolina-a reality that clashes with the fairy-tale plot. That Chestnut would only make deliveries having to do with Jenny's party might work in a small imaginary village, but doesn't work in a busy seaport. The whole book is too sweet, like cotton candy, and the obstacles in Chestnut's path (mud, a horse-drawn fire engine) appear contrived. This is the sort of thing that appeals much more to grandparents than to children. (Picture book. 4-7)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781561453214
  • Publisher: Peachtree Publishers, Ltd.
  • Publication date: 9/28/2004
  • Pages: 32
  • Age range: 4 - 8 Years
  • Product dimensions: 9.84 (w) x 11.24 (h) x 0.43 (d)

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Sort by: Showing 1 Customer Reviews
  • Posted August 28, 2012

    more from this reviewer

    Chester saves the day

    Sit down with your favorite child age 3 to 8 and just look at Chestnut the horse on the cover of "Chestnut" the book. He looks work-weary but gentle and he has a delightful tousled white mane. Now open the book and meet "Chestnut."

    Our story begins with Chestnut ready to take Mr. Decker on his delivery rounds early in the morning. And today is a special day - the birthday of the mayor's daughter, Jenny. Much needs to be delivered to make Jenny's day special.

    But alas, Mr. Decker is work-weary, too, and he falls asleep. No amount of whinnies or stomping of hoofs wakes Mr. Decker, so Chestnut sets out on his own to make the deliveries. Author Constance W. McGeorge weaves a delightful story that is detailed yet simple and understandable for the young child to grasp.

    The lovely watercolors by Mary Whyte are soft, detailed with each two-page spread opening up the 19th century scenes of a pleasant, easy-going seacoast town.

    Published in 2004 the book has a timeless appeal to capture the attention and delight of a young audience.

    DISCLOSURE: I was provided a complimentary copy of Chester to facilitate a review of my honest opinion.

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