________________ CM . . . . Volume XI Number 9 . . . .January 7, 2005


H is for Horse: An Equestrian Alphabet.

Mike Ulmer. Illustrated by Gijsbert van Frankenhuyzen.
Chelsea, MI: Sleeping Bear Press, 2004.
40 pp., cloth, $24.95.
ISBN 1-58536-214-X.

Subject Headings:
Horses-Juvenile literature.
English language-Alphabet-Juvenile literature.

Grades 3-5 / Ages 8-10.

Review by Patricia Fay.

*** /4




"Here's the question I'm burdened with:
why are Farriers all called Smith?
It seems to happen all the time
without reason and without rhyme.
On Sundays and vacation time
their own last name will work just fine.
But come Monday morning, at the stroke of six
everyone starts to call them Smith.

The farrier trims your horse's hooves and applies shoes. Most horse people use the word blacksmith as well as farrier, hence the use of the word 'Smith' or 'Smitty' for the farrier.

Like our finger and toenails, horse hooves grow continually. Depending on the time of year, a horse will need to be clipped or reshod every four to six weeks and that means at least a dozen shoe changes a year. Remember the horse owner's credo: "no hoof, no horse."


Mike Ulmer, the author of M is for Maple, has done it again with a beautifully illustrated alphabet book that is also an excellent source of information. Each letter has a short verse in a large font, and additional information is presented in two or three short paragraphs in a smaller font. There are facts on breeds of horses, colours of coat, horse equipment, differences in saddles and the difference between Western and English riding. Canada is mentioned in the letter C: "C stands for Canada and the mounted police."

internal art     I was interested to learn that there are nine million horses in the United States, 900,000 in Canada and over 60 million worldwide. On the "M" page, where manure and mucking out are mentioned, I also learned that "A horse will 'poo' six to 10 times a day," underlining the importance of keeping the stall clean!

     The paintings by Gijsbert van Frankenhuyzen are all unique. On the copyright page, he thanks all the people and their horses for helping him to correctly depict the activities he has painted. The painting on the "F" page shows a farrier putting new shoes on a horse. His toolbox is in the foreground, and beside it is a black and white dog sniffing at the hoof clippings. In his note, he mentions them by name: Jim Cloutier, the farrier, and Elsie, the dog. The paintings show the results of all his research.

     This book will be an instant hit with all horse lovers!

Highly Recommended.

Patricia Fay is a teacher-librarian at Beaumont Elementary School in Winnipeg, MB. Her grandfather was a blacksmith who used to bring home the horse hoof clippings for the family dog.

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

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The Manitoba Library Association
ISSN 1201-9364
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