Wild Horse Winter

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'The soft paintings combine with the simple text to bring a vanishing breed vividly to life. Wild Horse Winter is a wonderful book for reading aloud or for sharing, the story subtly parallels the growth of all creatures and underscores the strong bonds that exist between parent and child.' - The Children's Bookwatch

A wild colt and his mother struggle to find food during a harsh winter.

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Overview

'The soft paintings combine with the simple text to bring a vanishing breed vividly to life. Wild Horse Winter is a wonderful book for reading aloud or for sharing, the story subtly parallels the growth of all creatures and underscores the strong bonds that exist between parent and child.' - The Children's Bookwatch

A wild colt and his mother struggle to find food during a harsh winter.

Read More Show Less

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
According to an endnote, this book tells of the real-life wild horses of the Japanese island of Hokkaido, who survive brutal winters by allowing the snow to bury them completely. In spare, imagistic prose an English translation of the Japanese text, Honda relates the horses' annual climatic battle from a colt's point of view. The story starts out auspiciously, its short, declarative sentences recalling Hemingway's tales of the outdoors. Unfortunately, the text is ultimately rather flat, and gets bogged down in a blow-by-blow account: the scarce food, the first snow, the deepening drifts, the life-sustaining burial, the eventual trek to the sea to feast on kelp. And rather than culminating in a hoped-for dramatic climax, the narrative peters out lamely with the intimation of spring's arrival. Honda's full-spread watercolors, in wintry hues of ice blue and white, offer a sweeping, impressionistic panorama of the herd plowing through the drifts. But even though the palette is mitigated by a chromatic shift to reds in the last spread, the art, like the text, tends to become repetitive. Ages 2-8. Dec.
Children's Literature - Beverly Kobrin
About three hundred years ago, Japanese fishermen brought Nambu horses from their mainland to the island of Hokkaido. The horses were abandoned each winter to fend for themselves and over the centuries they developed into a tougher-hooved, longer-haired, and shorter-bodied species called Dosanko, which, loosely translated, means product of Hokkaido. With spare text and evocative paintings, artist/author Tetsuya Honda's Wild Horse Winter portrays a Dosanko colt's first migration from frozen, snow-covered forest to a milder, kelp-strewn coast. During the trek, the colt learns to survive as his ancestors did, by hunkering down with the herd to be covered by snow, and so become protected from the ferocious winds.
Emily Melton
The Dosanko horses of Japan are an ancient breed with a unique behavior pattern when winter blizzards arrive: they bury themselves in the snow to stay warm and protected until the storm abates. "Wild Horse Winter" focuses on the life of a young Dosanko colt born on the spring prairie, where the weather is pleasant and the food is plentiful. When winter comes and there's no food to be found, the herd leaves the prairie in search of nourishment. Along the way, the horses encounter a terrible storm and bury themselves in the snowdrifts until it's safe to continue on their journey. Finally, they reach the sea, where there's plenty of seaweed for food and long stretches of sand where the young colt can gallop and frolic. The Asian background of the author-artist is evident in the spare and simple text and in the beautifully fluid lines and dramatic, bold colors of the illustrations. The story is quite suspenseful and dramatic and may prove somewhat frightening for the youngest listeners, but it's a wonderful example of how wild animals instinctively know how to survive under the harshest conditions.
From the Publisher

--ARIZONA REPUBLIC, February 1993
This bone-chilling but satisfying story of a colt and the herd he lives with is based on actual events.

The wild Dosanko horses of Japan often face harsh winters, and the colt must endure one of them in his first year of life. Over the centuries, the Dosanko have developed shorter bodies, longer hair and tougher hooves--and the instinctual behavior that can save their lives.

The author-illustrator, who lives in Japan, makes the horses' survival a real cause for joy. Ages 2-8.

--BOOKLIST, January 15, 1993
The Dosanko horses of Japan are an ancient breed with a unique behavior pattem when winter blizards arrive: they bury themselves in the snow to stay warm and protected until the storm abates. Wild Horse Winter focuses on the life of a young Dosanko colt born on the spring prairie, where the weather is pleasant and the food is plentiful. When winter comes and there's no food to be found, the herd leaves the prairie in search of nourishment. Along the way, the horses encounter a terrible storm and bury themselves in the snowdrifts until it's safe to continue on their journey. Finally, they reach the sea, where there's plenty of seaweed for food and long stretches of sand where the young colt can gallop and frolic. The Asian background of the author-artist is evident in the spare and simple text and in the beautifully fluid lines and dramatic, bold colors of the illustrations. The story is quite suspenseful and dramatic and may prove somewhat frightening for the youngest listeners, but it's a wonderful example of how wild animals instinctively know how in survive under the harshest conditions.

--SCHOOL LIBRARY JOURNAL, August 1993
The Dosanko horses roam wild on a Japanese island, trying to survive a bleak winter. Honda's dramatic paintings portray a stark existence and a harshness of weather and environment. The band of animals search for food in the snow, while the text focuses on a colt following his mother. Readers will agonize over their journey and breathe sighs of relief when they reach the sea and find food. Some might consider this story an allegory for life, as the horses pursue a quest and reach their goal. Originally published in Japan, this quiet mood piece could fit into a winter-themed story time, but is better suited to one-on-one sharing.

--THE CHILDREN'S BOOKWATCH, November 3, 1993
Based on an actual event, this suspenseful story tells the miraculous saga of a herd of beautiful wild horses and details the life of a young colt as it matures and follows the lead of its protective mother to overcome a wild, raging blizzard in the dramatic conclusion of their journey. The soft paintings combine with the simple text to bring a vanishing breed vividly to life. Wild Horse Winter is a wonderful book for reading aloud or for sharing, the story subtly parallels the growth of all creatures and underscores the strong bonds that exist between parent and child.

The story is quite suspenseful and dramatic. Booklist

Wild Horse Winter is a wonderful book for reading aloud or for sharing. The Children's Bookwatch

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780811802512
  • Publisher: Chronicle Books LLC
  • Publication date: 11/1/1992
  • Pages: 40
  • Age range: 1 - 12 Years
  • Product dimensions: 1.00 (w) x 1.00 (h) x 1.00 (d)

Meet the Author

Tetsuya Honda first studied to be a teacher, but his love of wild animals led him to pursue a career in wildlife art. Now a full time painter, Mr. Honda lives in Japan.
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