If you haven’t read Hold on to your Horses, by Sandra Tayler, you are missing out. In fact, you can read it for free in PDF. Amy’s beautiful ideas always get her into trouble, so her mother tells her that her ideas are like wild horses, and she needs to focus on steering them to good places. The artwork is truly beautiful–with multicolored horses on every page. (And some of them have wings!) The book is aimed at children who have difficulty controlling their impulses, which, when you think about it, is every child.
My daughter is too young to understand the metaphor, but she loves this book. I first read it to her when she was about 18 months, and for weeks she asked for the “horsie! book!” over and over. It’s well written enough that I don’t mind, which if you’ve ever read a book dozens of times in a row, you know is a high compliment. We saw some horses a month or two later, and she shouted “horsie!” and then immediately began looking around for Amy. (She sadly didn’t find her.)
The sequel just funded on Kickstarter this weekend. (That means if you pledge now, you can get copies of the book in March.) In this one, rather than learn how to control her impulses, Amy discovers that having wild ideas gives her a gift that can help the people in her life, rather than just making her life difficult. I read the text of The Strength of Wild Horses while it was being written. I loved it even more than the first one, and you can see a lot of the artwork on the Kickstarter page. It’s beautiful.
Sandra is a friend of mine, but I’m independently a fan of her work–especially these picture books. The project still has a few days left, and if you haven’t yet, you should go pledge. It’s just $5 for the PDF of the new book, or $15 for a hard copy, or $30 for a hard copy of both books. If you have (or know) children, this is a great purchase. There are some extras available, too, from cards to canvas prints to original art. My daughter still loves Amy and her horsies, so I’m thrilled to be able to give her a sequel.