Kelly Knapp's Reviews > Magic Hoof School

Magic Hoof School by Marcy Kikegawa
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Apr 28, 12

Recommended to Kelly by: Goodreads Firstreads giveaway
Read on April 28, 2012 — I own a copy, read count: twice

I read this twice and found I could not give it a good review. I will try and explain my reasoning.

Magic Hoof School is a story about a young colt heading off for his first day of school. He is eager to go, but his mother feels only anxiety. She follows him and tries to observe his day from a distance, without his knowledge. In so doing, she is injured several times.

After reading it the first time, I sat down and read it to a couple of my grandchildren and one of their friends. They were 2 three year olds and a four year old. Not one of them wanted to listen to the end, but did so for me. So, I asked why and I got some answers. It probably makes a difference that we live in Texas.

1.) Horses don't sleep laying down (except for short times napping.) Horses that lay down all night to sleep are sick and will probably not get better.

2.) Horses cannot climb trees or hang from their hooves. They cannot climb ladders.

3.) My granddaughter liked the "Pink" hooves, but wanted to know who painted them.

4.) The boys wanted to know where the trainers were and laughed when I said the other horse was the teacher.

5.) My 4 year old grandson wanted to know why the mare's back leg broke through the roof, but her front leg was wrapped.

However, they all said they liked the pictures, the boys were not impressed with the pink hooves but then they are boys.

This story was for "aesthetic reading." It was a person-against-self conflict with a chronological plot. Although it appeared at first to be about the colt, The mare was the actual main character. The theme was about a parent learning to let her child grow-up. It is written in a "shifting point of view" from colt to mare and back to colt.

There are many reasons a story can be of value to a child. Personally, children read or want to be read to for enjoyment, imagination, experience, understanding, to learn their heritage, to be inspired. Parents and teachers like books for children for many of these same reasons, but they often include character education as part of their choices which include learning empathy or morals. "A well-portrayed character can become a friend, a role model, or a temporary parent to a child reader." (Lynch-Brown, 2008) However, the mare sneaks around, spies upon, and even lies to her son. While there are some natural consequences to these actions, scrapes and soreness, these do not appear as the injuries are happening, but suddenly appear after the mare returns home. In addition, while the mare does appologize, it is unclear for what she is appologizing.

Whether the story is for aesthetic reading of efferent reading, it is essential that children have stories which allow them to gain personal insights into themselves, what they value or for what stand. Stories for non-readers and emergent readers shoould not be ambiguous.
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