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Editorial Reviews

Children's Literature
With 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.
School Library Journal
K-Gr 3-Another quality nonfiction title from a veteran author. Gibbons presents an abundance of information about these "powerful, graceful, and majestic animals" in a pleasing and well-organized format. Using succinct and interesting language complemented by colorful and accurate illustrations, she describes the history of horses, their anatomy, how they communicate through sounds and body movement, care and grooming (including the wide range of tools needed to maintain a healthy coat), and different breeds. Finally, readers learn that horses "are good friends and companions." Thoroughbreds, Welsh ponies, Clydesdales, and many others are shown grazing and prancing across the pages, and the carefully placed captions define terminology and often clarify or add to the text. This book will definitely make the winner's circle.-Carol Schene, Taunton Public Schools, MA Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
This latest from the overly prolific Gibbons reads like an encyclopedia article but looks even worse due to shockingly abysmal artwork. She covers a history of horses, the names of the parts of their bodies, a brief overview of their physical characteristics and activities, but includes many errors and oversimplifications--a crossbred horse does not necessarily, for example, have "at least one parent that is not a purebred." (Any horse descended from purebred horses of different breeds is a crossbred.) Hoof oil does not keep hooves from cracking. Grooming a horse does far more than make a horse "look beautiful." Gibbons's people always look plastic; here, her horses suffer a wide variety of physical maladies and joint deformations. Worse, all the horses look the same, yet are labeled as different breeds--a Holstein depicted as a smallish animal jumping, a Morgan and a Quarter Horse identical except for color, a yearling just like a Thoroughbred just like a Hackney. For proof that horse books can be accurately and invitingly illustrated with drawings, look to Margot Apple's Appaloosa to Zebra. For interesting horse books, look anywhere else. (Nonfiction. 5-8)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780823418756
  • Publisher: Holiday House, Inc.
  • Publication date: 9/28/2004
  • Pages: 32
  • Sales rank: 272,184
  • Age range: 5 - 8 Years
  • Lexile: 660L (what's this?)
  • Product dimensions: 7.98 (w) x 8.62 (h) x 0.18 (d)

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Sort by: Showing 1 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted January 25, 2004


    One would be hard pressed to think of an animal that enjoys more popularity than horses. Consider the parts they have played not only in our country's history but also throughout literature. Children admire them and can imagine all sorts of adventures on horseback. Gail Gibbons has brought her usual perception and skills to this entertaining book about one of our favorite animals. Noting that the horse's earliest ancestors lived almost 60 million years ago the author traces the migration of horses and their domestication. We're reminded of how useful they were: plowing, pulling wagons and carts, transporting people. Included is an examination of this animal's anatomy as well as notes on purebred horses from the Arabian to the Palomino to the Clydesdale. 'Horses' is both entertaining and informative for all ages.

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