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Children's Literature @ NYPL
Booktalking "Fritz and the Beautiful Horses" by Jan Brett
Fritz is a cute, adorable Shetland pony surrounded by elegant jumpers and military and parade horses. He feels a little bit dwarfed. He feels a little bit inadequate.
Fritz watches the children riding the beautiful horses who might shy and buck, and the kids look scared. However, only beautiful horses are allowed within the walled city where the children reside. Fritz is a little bit jealous; he wishes that the children would ride him. He watches the kids from afar; he decorates his mane and tail with flowers.
However, one day, the bridge will not sustain the weight of the big horses, and the kids are stranded on the other side of the river. They are scared that their horses will act up. Fritz saves the day by carefully crossing the river and bringing the kids across one by one until all of them are safely reunited with the adults. Then the community agrees to allow Fritz into the walls of its city, where the children love and care for him for the rest of his days. The children even give the pony a fancy blanket.
While reading this delightful, sweet tale, I was struck by the intricate, exquisite beauty of the illustrations of horses and kids, and the simplicity of the white backgrounds which offsets the horses in a magical way.
I also thought of the Shetland ponies that I know: Romeo, Madonna, Rainbow, and Chocolate Chip, who gamely walk around the paddock and give pony rides to horse-crazy kids at the stable. The book also reminded me of my favorite trail horse, Charming, a big gray Sport horse with impeccable manners who carries himself in a regal manner and moves smoothly and swiftly. There is also Bentley, a bay Thoroughbred whom I ride in the arena who would make a good Dressage horse.
My only criticism of the book is that it says that Fritz is not beautiful; obviously, he is.