Airy collage art, skillfully fashioned from tissue and Japanese papers, contributes the horsepower to this counting book by the illustrator of Hattie and the Fox and The Magic Saddle. Dominated by an exquisite, cool palette of slate blues, sea greens and teal tones, Mullins's diverse cavalry ranges from realistic, sharply focused show horses to ethereal, winged horses "high in a cloud" to painted ponies on a carousel and fancifully imagined, luminous sea horses. Though the fairly limited narrative ("Seven horses all shapes and sizes,/ Eight horses wearing ribbons and prizes") lacks the substance and esprit of the artwork, equestrians aren't likely to complain. Mullins's blue-ribbon pictures, offering such inventive equines, will likely set young imaginations galloping to the finish. Ages 3-7. (Apr.)
Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
From the two horses standing in the shade of a tree to the twelve horses running free, this counting book is a delight. Those adults who are horse lovers will want to have this book for their young readers. The collage illustrations bring to life rocking horses and carousel horses. The author has included workhorses, tame horses, wild horses, show horses and mythological horses. Older children may wish to use this book to teach them how to draw these beautiful animals. This makes an excellent addition for the early reader, especially if they already have an interest in horses. This is a good choice for the book basket in the pre-kindergarten classroom because children can quickly learn to read it themselves.
Children's Literature - Joyce Rice
K-Gr 3A colorful counting book. From "One horse waiting for me" to "Twelve horses...running wild and free!" Mullins celebrates these creatures with a charming mixture of fantasy and reality. There are rocking horses and merry-go-round mounts, imaginary steeds prancing in the clouds and the sea, and naturalistic horses of all shapes and sizes at a show and in the field. The lovely torn-page collages have rich hues of blue and green as backdrops to the varied colored animals. From the detailed harnesses on the work horses to the many types of hobbyhorses, the figures have movement and eye-catching detail. They fill the double-page spreads and sometimes seem ready to gallop right off of the pages. The superior quality of the illustrations carries the text, which is adequate but not memorable. Some of the rhymed passages work; others are more uneven. For young horse lovers, the artwork will hold great appeal, but the cumulative rhyming text is much less interesting and makes this an optional purchase.Carol Schene, Taunton Public Schools, MA
From Mullins (Dinosaur Encore, 1993, etc.) comes a collection of factual and fabled horses ready to be counted. Wisps of torn tissue paper form the surrounding clouds, skies, and grasses against which are placed a myriad of unidentified Arabians, Appaloosas, work, rocking, and carousel horses, circus performers, Pegasus-like flying horses, and "sea" horses in numbers from one through twelve. A single rhyming line corresponds with each bold-faced numeral. Textured Japanese papers with visible threads are layered to promenade horses swimming amidst a moon-surfaced sea, flying through semi-transparent isinglass clouds or "running wild and free," flaunting flying manes. Fossil-like impressions of stars and snowflakes lend an ethereal atmosphere to the fantasy spreads. Less useful as a counting book for the toddler set, and lacking names, captions, and labels for the more equine-inclined, this picture book will find its audience in pre-reading horse enthusiasts, who will be happy to absorb Mullins's many renderings of this much-loved beast. (Picture book. 3-5)