Saturday, July 3, 2010

Book Review: Are You a Horse? by Andy Rash

Author: Andy Rash
Illustrator: Andy Rash
Published: 2009
Source: Local Library
When Roy gets a saddle for his birthday, he's a little flummoxed about how to use it. The instructions aren't helpful, either: "1. Find a horse. 2. Enjoy the ride." You see, despite being a cowboy, Roy's not exactly sure what a horse is. So he sets off through the Wild West, attempting to find a horse. Apparently, they have some very specific qualities. The rusty thing with wheels is not a horse (it's not alive), the spiny green thing is not a horse (it's not an animal), and the wiggly, hissing thing is not a horse (it doesn't have legs). Oh, dear! How will Roy ever get to use his brand-new birthday saddle?
This book develops like a game of twenty questions. From the initial question ("animal, vegetable, or mineral?"), Roy slowly narrows down the qualities of a horse until he finally finds one that fits all the categories. Roy's clearly not the shinest spur in the ranch house. That's part of the fun. The other part is the sheer silliness of this book. Besides cacti and snakes, recognizable Wild West artifacts, Rash also includes lions, zebras, sloths, and crabs in the category of non-horse. My favorite spread was the sloth, who apparently takes the better part of a day to inform Roy that he's not a horse because horses are fast.
This book is just plain fun. I kind of want to turn this into a puppet show so I can hear the shrieks of hilarity as kids correct Roy's misperceptions.

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