Arno and His Horse

by Jane Godwin (Author) Felicita Sala (Illustrator)

Arno and His Horse
Reading Level: 2nd − 3rd Grade
Arno and His Horse is a beautifully written rhyming text, matched with exquisite illustrations, that explores love, memory, loss, and the power objects can hold. Arno had a horse, it was brown and it was black. He took it with him everywhere, but did he bring it back? When Arno loses his precious toy horse, all the kids in town help him to look for it. They look everywhere, but will Arno ever see his horse again? A touching story about memory, dreams, and the mysterious ways we feel connected to those we love.

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School Library Journal

K-Gr 2—Arno's favorite toy is the small, wooden horse carved just for him. "It had big eyes, a peaceful face, [and] made Arno's mind feel light." It reminds Arno of his beloved grandfather and the stories he used to share of days long past. Arno brings the horse with him everywhere, "but did he bring it back?" He did not, and so the search begins. Arno, along with his friends and family, who range from pale to dark brown, search the river banks, their clubhouse, the playground, the grocery store, and the playing fields. Night falls without Arno's horse, but in his dreams he asks his grandfather to bring it back to him. Arno awakens and races to the horse, a little worse for wear. Godwin's mostly rhyming text is brought to life by Sala's deeply evocative illustrations which expand the story. There is much searching, but also much playing, great facial expressions, and varied scenery. The Australian landscape is a character all its own, while Arno's dreamscapes are depicted in a palette of blues, purples, and yellows that make them easy to distinguish from reality. VERDICT A missing favorite toy fuels a search and success, and is sure to resonate with all those who have had a toy disappear. Pair with Knuffle Bunny for a themed story time.—Catherine Callegari, Gay-Kimball Lib., Troy, NH

Copyright 2021 School Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.

Review quotes

"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 ... [T]he inviting artwork, created with watercolours, gouache, and coloured pencils, uses repeated lines and forms to echo the rhythm of the verse text ... An appealing addition to picture-book collections."

— "Booklist"
Lexile Measure
Guided Reading Level
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Publication date
March 20, 2021
BISAC categories
JUV039030 - Juvenile Fiction | Social Themes | Death & Dying
JUV013030 - Juvenile Fiction | Family | Multigenerational
JUV002130 - Juvenile Fiction | Animals | Horses
JUV074000 - Juvenile Fiction | Diversity & Multicultural
Library of Congress categories

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