A Horse Named Jack

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Adventure books are loads of fun, especially adventure books about horses — told in rhyme! Author Linda Vander Heyden’s new counting picture book, A Horse Named Jack, is a feast for the senses. It is full of lovely (and funny) illustrations for the eyes, near-perfect rhymes for the ears, and fast-paced counting for the intellect.

In the book a beautiful, pampered and popular horse named Jack becomes bored when the neighborhood children don’t come to see him. So, off he goes on a counting adventure. First he opens ONE stall latch, listens for TWO hinge creaks that signify that the stall door is open, and then is greeted by THREE crowing roosters.

From there, Jack shakes FOUR juicy grain sacks, watches FIVE kittens snooze in the sun, and continues on his counting adventure until he passes TEN fuzzy ducklings and makes his way to a carrot patch. But the carrot patch belongs to an annoyed gardener who chases Jack back, back, back the way he came. As Jack retreats, he counts backward from TEN to ONE — just in time to greet some young visitors who have come to play.

This little book has something for everyone! It’s a lovely picture book with adorable illustrations of a dapple gray clydesdale going on a hilarious adventure. It’s a counting book for all the 0 to 4 year old’s eagerly learning to count to ten. But best of all, it’s a rhyming book that rarely if ever misses a beat. Linda Vander Heyden’s prose is funny, fast-paced and spot-on for Pre-K children, and artist Petra Brown is more than generous with her illustrations of lush fields, furry, fuzzy farm animals, and smiling children.

Use this as an educational book or a rhyming book. Use it as a close-up examination of a farm, or simply to fire children’s imaginations about what it’s like to go on an adventure.

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