On the Day the Horse Got Out

by Audrey Helen Weber (Author)

On the Day the Horse Got Out
Reading Level: K − 1st Grade

In this gorgeously rendered tale, Audrey Helen Weber masterfully blends suspense and nonsense, imaginative artwork, and a flawless rhythm that evokes some of the most beloved read-aloud classics, from Mother Goose to Eric Carle. On the day the horse got out . . the bells all rang, the birds flew south, the rabbit dug a bit too deep, and the beetle cried out in its sleep... But what happened to the horse? Did she find what she was looking for?

Drawing on the influence of nursery rhymes, fables, folklore, folk art, and mythology--and combined with Audrey Helen Weber's own playful and surreal sensibility, page-turning suspense and read-aloud magic--here is a transcendent journey that tells a new story with every read.

Kirkus Reviews

Visually stunning, highly imaginative, and delightfully baffling.

Publishers Weekly

Starred Review

"On the day the horse got out,// the bells all rang,/ the birds flew south." The sun rises from billowing clouds, in this picture book, to find a white horse outside a fence, cropping lilies. The bells of the verse belong to other barnyard creatures: a cow with a bell around its neck dashes headlong across the page, alongside a cat with a steady gaze that sits astride a galloping, belled sheep. The sharp-edged wings of birds, meanwhile, echo petals and wind-tossed streamers also shown. The images and text that follow mix the everyday (a missing dog) and the fanciful (a sleeping dragon, a tiny room underground) while building a chaotic tension that never lets go. The horse's final leap into the unknown befits the surreal logic of nonsense verse and leaves behind a delicious sense of unsettling mystery. Creating a nursery rhyme that sounds suitably timeless is a challenge, but newcomer Weber's verse passes the test, and so do her haunting spreads, which carry whiffs of folk art and medieval books of hours. Ages 4-8. Agent: Hannah Mann, Writers House. (June)

Copyright 2021 Publishers Weekly, LLC Used with permission.

School Library Journal

The story begins as the horse gets out and then covers the impact of this on the other animals, both positively and negatively. Simple text and watercolors draw readers in to the event. When "the rabbit dug too deep and the beetle cried out in its sleep," a closer look reveals tiny details in the roots where the beetle dozes. This is true for most of the book; the larger picture is the escaped horse, but it invites inspection of a spider web and other delightful surprises. VERDICT A great addition to story hour collections, this book invites children to a wonderful time discovering cause and effect.—Elizabeth Willoughby, John P. Faber Sch., Dunellen, NJ

Copyright 2021 School Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.

Review quotes

Audrey Helen Weber
Audrey Helen Weber grew up in central Massachusetts and studied theater design and drawing at Hampshire College. For years she created zines and short comics, and On the Day the Horse Got Out is her children's book debut. Audrey's artwork has been featured in numerous publications, including the New York Times Book Review and the New Yorker online. She lives in western Massachusetts, where she has also worked on the education team at the Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art.
Lexile Measure
Guided Reading Level
Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
Publication date
June 20, 2021
BISAC categories
JUV051000 - Juvenile Fiction | Imagination & Play
JUV010000 - Juvenile Fiction | Bedtime & Dreams
JUV057000 - Juvenile Fiction | Stories in Verse (see also Poetry)
JUV055000 - Juvenile Fiction | Nursery Rhymes
JUV002130 - Juvenile Fiction | Animals | Horses
JUV070000 - Juvenile Fiction | Poetry (see also Stories in Verse)
Library of Congress categories
Picture books
Stories in rhyme

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