Saturday, October 11, 2008

Heartbeat for Horses

The entniece and entnephew came to visit our entwood recently. The entniece is a third grader (it was so nice to have a little girl in the house again) and she soon discovered Entling no.1's old Breyer horses which were packed away in a closet. A corral was erected on the floor of her bedroom and horses jumped and galloped across the carpet.

I handed the entniece Laura Chester's new horse books which I had received from Raab Associates to review.

Heartbeat for Horses, edited by Laura Chester, photographs by Donna DeMari, Willow Creek Press, 2008.

The cover photograph evokes the love for horses that flows through this book. Poems, essays and selections from classic horselore, including James Herriot, Black Beauty, King of the Wind, and, Will James's Smoky the Cowhorse (just to name a few) will thrill horse-loving girls and inspire others. If a young reader has not already found National Velvet, the except in this anthology will send her out to find it.

Donna DeMari's photographs are rich and romantic visions of horses and girls. DeMari is a fashion photographer whose work is featured in magazines like Marie Claire. Young equestrian jumpers, a girl jockey, rodeo riders and the Escaramuza Flor de Primavera riding group of Tucson are shown in action, as are girls working in the stable and nose to nose with their horses.

This would be a perfect gift for a young horse lover.

Chester writes of her own life long love of horses and the special horses in her life. She remembers her childhood collection of horses which reminded me of my own. My brothers collected Matchbox cars, I collected ceramic animals and lots of little horses.

Hiding Glory
by Laura Chester; illustrated by Gary A. Lippincott, Willow Creek Press, 2007
Marvel the Marvelous by Laura Chester;Willow Creek Press, 2008

The entnephew was teasing his sister about her love of "magic-flying-pony" books so these titles seemed to have been written just for her. Chester's novels Marvel the Marvelous and Hiding Glory are set in an fantasy world of Joya. Shades of "My Little Pony," the stories might very well be Chester's memories of playing with her own collection of horse figurines.

Watching the entniece gallop and jump the Breyer horses through their paces, was a strong reminder to me of the power a child's imagination and the importance of that play.

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