Colin the Cart Horse by Gavin Puckett and Tor Freeman
|Colin the Cart Horse by Gavin Puckett and Tor Freeman|
|Category: Children's Rhymes and Verse|
|Reviewer: John Lloyd|
|Summary: A superlative rhyme allows the author to get us right up close to a farting horse – with all the benefits and problems that suggests.|
|Buy? Yes||Borrow? Yes|
|Pages: 80||Date: September 2016|
|Publisher: Faber and Faber|
|External links: Author's website|
Meet Colin. He's a perfectly regular cart horse, carrying the crops, tools and children around the farm. He's happy with a life of labour, resting after his shift is done about three every afternoon, and a life of hay – that is, however, until he wonders what his fellow farm animals are eating. What could be the consequence of him trying out every other farm food on the market?
I guess, in all honesty, I wouldn't give such a simple book five stars if it weren't done in rhyme. This book is about a horse that gets bad wind, and causes a certain problem to trump all problems (pun intended). And that's it. There is a moral, yes, but on the whole the book is just about the build-up to when a certain bodily build-up lets rip – and nothing else.
The very essence of the book, however, and the reason it's so loveable, is the verse – rhyming couplets that do here and there slip up on the beat (especially when it comes to dropping in biohazard stickers) but generally makes for a perfect read-aloud volume. I can easily imagine the parent sharing this jape with their young friend, pointing to the detail in the lovely illustrations, and taking their time over it – for me, my reading aloud of the whole thing left me with a bouncing, almost rapping rhythm. Whatever speed and whatever approach you take, however, I can only see this book creating broad smiles, if not more.
So yes, the jape there is a singular one, but it's a good one. I could forgive the script for going into such detail about one bodily function, when it did it in couplets – any other form and it would seem gratuitous. The fact the book was just about a bottom burp, when the first I met in this series had a much richer world and story, was the slightest of problems, due to the qualities of the writing. To repeat, the pictures are just as good – it's odd to see a pastel blue horse, but in the scheme of things here, which are either blue or orange and nothing else, it works, and Colin – all bug-eyed innocence – has so much character from the most simple of lines. That's the pleasure, for once, of this book – its simplicity. It doesn't aim for any further heights than the bottom, but it hits every target you'd want. For the under-sevens this is lovely company, and I quite envy them it.
I must thank the publisher for my review copy.
More bouncy wordplay can be had for this audience with the likes of Oh, the Places You'll Go by Dr Seuss.
You can read more book reviews or buy Colin the Cart Horse by Gavin Puckett and Tor Freeman at Amazon.co.uk
You can read more book reviews or buy Colin the Cart Horse by Gavin Puckett and Tor Freeman at Amazon.com.
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