Friday, July 30, 2021

See You In My Dreams! Arno and His Horse by Jane Godwin and Felicitia Sala

Arno had a horse,

It was brown and it was black.

He took it with him everywhere,

but did he bring it back?

Arno's siblings and friends turn out to search for it with him. They look for out around the house, and in their favorite tree, and as far as they can see around the house. They wandered down the road through the bush. They retraced their steps--at the store--at the playing field, and right to the bottom of the games equipment box.

"Okay! We're done! That's that!" said dad.

But Arno just cannot give up on his horse, its big eyes and and gentle face, the way it felt just right in his hand. It reminded him of the times past when Grandpa had been there to tell him about riding his horse long ago. In his dreams he is there to ask his Grandpa. . .

"Can you see it, Grandpa? Can you bring it back to me?"

And dreaming of walking in the moonlight, guided by his grandfather's hand, he finds his horse, just where he'd left it, stabled under the roots of a tree, in Jane Godwin's Arno and His Horse (Scribble Press, 2021). In this imaginative tale Arno feels as if he is led back to the toy his grandpa had made him, and indeed, he finds it there himself, in Godwin's gentle story, told in rhyming verse and with a wistful but happy ending that is supported by artist Felicita Sala's dreamy illustrations, a wish fulfillment fantasy.

Says Booklist, "Besides offering an Australian setting and suggesting the boy's powerful connection with his grandfather, the book communicates a strong sense that something magical has happened". . . .

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