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Children's LiteratureWith nearly twenty books in print about animal species (polar bears, pits, penguins, rabbits, sea turtles, sharks, spiders, and so forth), Gibbons is an expert at giving young readers an overview plus interesting specifics. A historical overview of Eohippus' evolution and horse appearance, disappearance and reappearance on the North American continent introduces the book. Discussion of the three basic horse sizes, characteristics and terminology (withers, hands, flank, quarters, fetlock), a double page spread about horse feet and horseshoes, followed by a discussion of gait, teeth, and habits suits the curious as well as report writers. Birth of a foal and its growth into a yearling is also covered. Throughout the full color illustrations, Gibbons uses various breeds of horse to discuss general characteristics and labels the breed so that young readers can learn names or ignore them in pursuit of generalities. A table of some well-known purebred horses and another of entertainment events horses typically appear in round out the information. There's little information about working horses on farms, however, and only Clydesdales and Morgans are mentioned. As in her other books, Gibbons ends with some dozen facts about horses or horse lore that might interest the reader. There's no index or table of contents, but the information is easily locatable since pictures and text and the occasional titled information ("Gaits of a Horse," "Teeth") make information easy to find. Slightly easier than the Lauber/Schanzer The True-or-False Book About Horses (HarperCollins, 2000), the two books would complement any horse lover's inquiry into the species. 2003, Holiday House, Ages 4 to 8.
— Susan Hepler, Ph.D.