________________ CM . . . . Volume XV Number 15 . . . . March 20, 2009

cover Why Do Horses Have Manes?

Elizabeth MacLeod.
Toronto, ON: Kids Can Press, 2009.
64 pp., hardcover, $14.95.
ISBN 978-1-55453-312-1.

Subject Heading:
Horses-Miscellanea-Juvenile literature.

Grades 2-7 / Ages 7-12.

Review by Tanya Boudreau.

*** /4


Do some horses really have feathers?

Yes, but a horse's "feather" is the long, silky hair that grows just above some horses' hooves. It's beautiful, and it protects the leg. Feather directs rain or water to run off the leg, rather that pool and cause sores.

Heavy horses, especially known for feather include the Ardennais, the Clydesdale and the Shire.

Children's author Elizabeth MacLeod may have just the answer you are looking for when it comes to horses! Through a question and answer format, her book, Why Do Horses Have Manes? provides insight into the history, characteristics, and personality of horses. An informative book, mixing answers with activities, this book starts with a one page introduction on the history of horses. Seven questions come next, such as ‘Why do horses let people ride them?' and ‘What did the first horse look like?' followed by an activity entitled Horse Talk. On this page, readers can test their knowledge on horse expressions such as ‘Hold your horses' and ‘Put the cart before the horse.' Chapter two is devoted to questions about the different breeds and sizes of horses while chapter three answers questions concerning adaptations and survival. In this chapter, readers will learn why horses walk on their tiptoes, how to tell a horse's age from its teeth, and how much water a horse needs to drink everyday. The last chapter, entitled ‘Straight from the Horse's Mouth,' explains how horses communicate and the different ways they have worked with us over the years — sometimes even saving us.

     Incorporated into this book are horse themed activities, jokes, and facts. There are directions for a horse bookmark in chapter two, rules about the game of Horseshoes in chapter three, and five horse related jokes on the last page of chapter four. These additions, along with all the beautiful photographs that appear on every page of this book, will keep a young horse lover busy — and happy — for the better part of an afternoon.

     As someone who does not know a lot about horses, I was surprised at all I learned about them in this book. For instance, I learned that the first horses were only the size of a cat, that the words frog, barrel, and cannon are all parts of a horse, and that there is a remarkable tale behind the name "bloody-shouldered" Arabian horses.

     Why Do Horses Have Manes? is a well designed book. To keep with the horse theme, the pages in this book have horseshoes printed above the page numbers, along the top of every page as decorative borders, and behind the text as a tan background. The photographs, which are all in color, show the wide variety of horses that can be found around the world, including two pictures of wild horses in chapter two, and a picture of the Shetland pony- one of the strongest horses in the world for its size. Although there is no bibliography at the end of the book or a list of additional resources children could turn to for more information, this book would be a useful addition to a public or school library. Budding horse lovers won't want to miss this book.

     Having graduated from the University of Toronto with an honors degree in biology and botany, Elizabeth MacLeod worked for three years as managing editor of OWL Magazine. The author of several nonfiction books for children including, Why Do Cats Have Whiskers? (2008) and The Kids Book of Canada at War (2007), Elizabeth lives in Toronto.


Tanya Boudreau is a librarian at the Cold Lake Public Library in Cold Lake, AB.

To comment on this title or this review, send mail to cm@umanitoba.ca.

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ISSN 1201-9364
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