Great Illustrated Books

Are You A Horse?

By Andy Rash

Arthur A. Levine Books, 2009
Pages : 32
Suggested Ages: 2-7
ISBN: 0439724171

Roy's friends give him a great big birthday present. "What's this thing?" he asks. It's a saddle. It comes with instructions: "1. Find a horse. 2. Enjoy the ride." Take a look at Roy. He's wearing a big cowboy hat, vest, cowboy boots, bandana, and a map of Texas on his belt buckle. He looks like a cowboy, right? Maybe, but he sure isn't the sharpest tool in the shed. The fellow doesn't even know what a horse looks like. Off he goes to find one.

"Are you a horse?" he asks a squeaky, rusty red wagon. "Nope . . . a horse is a living thing," the wagon replies. He asks the same question of a cactus, a snake, a crab, a chameleon, an owl, a pig, a sloth, a lion, and a zebra, and each one tells him a little more about the animal he seeks. Little by little he puts it all together: a horse is a friendly, clean, fast, grass-eating, legged creature that doesn't change colors or have stripes. "WHY CAN'T I FIND A HORSE," Roy shouts in frustration. And then he sees a brown animal trotting down the road. Checking to see if the creature fits every description, he is overjoyed to see that it does. "Are you a horse?" he asks one last time. "Of course," says the horse. The final pages, with a nutty twist ending, will send all into gales of laughter.

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If you love this book, then try:

Birdseye, Tom. Soap! Soap! Don't Forget the Soap!: An Appalachian Folktale. Holiday House, 1993.

Eastman, P. D. Are You My Mother? Random House, 1960.

Feiffer, Jules. Bark, George. HarperCollins, 1999.

Montes, Marisa. Juan Bobo Goes to Work: A Puerto Rican Folktale. HarperCollins, 2000.

Palatini, Margie. Moo Who? HarperCollins, 2004.

Pitre, Felix. Juan Bobo and the Pig: A Puerto Rican Folktale. Lodestar, 1993.

Rinck, Maranke. I Feel a Foot! Lemniscaat/Boyds Mills, 2008.

Rosenthal, Amy Krouse. Duck! Rabbit! Chronicle, 2009.

Salley, Coleen. Epossumondas. Harcourt, 2002.

Willems, Mo. Edwina, the Dinosaur Who Didn't Know She Was Extinct. Hyperion, 2006.

Young, Ed. Seven Blind Mice. Philomel, 1992.

Critics have said

The western-styled gouache art is packed with colors and peppered with lighthearted jokes. Much of the visual fun comes from the way each animal has the characteristic Roy has just learned about from the previous encounter, while the text effectively uses negation to keep him looking.