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Rosie's Magic Horse

3.40  ·  Rating details ·  299 ratings  ·  70 reviews
If an ice-pop stick can dream of being a horse, what magic might follow? A fanciful tale by Russell Hoban, mischievously illustrated by Quentin Blake.

Once its icy sweetness is gone, a discarded ice-pop stick is lonely until young Rosie comes by and lays it in a cigar box with others like it. But this stick wants to be something! Meanwhile, just before bed, Rosie sees her p
Hardcover, 40 pages
Published February 26th 2013 by Candlewick Press (first published October 1st 2012)
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Average rating 3.40  · 
Rating details
 ·  299 ratings  ·  70 reviews

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Aaron Becker
Sep 18, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This wonderful tale by Russell Hoban is a perfect fit for Quentin Blake's loose and vibrant ink and watercolors. We've loved reading this one at home with our kids. ...more
Mar 19, 2013 rated it it was ok
This seemed a bit like the result of a writing prompt or workshop challenge - write a story about something found in your trash (popsicle sticks) and a social issue (financial struggles). It makes a bit more sense when you realize it was published posthumously. Perhaps Mr. Hoban would not have chosen to share this story with the world, even with an illustrator of the caliber of Quentin Blake.
That said, it might be useful to share in a public school classroom or with a family experiencing financ
Apr 01, 2013 rated it liked it
Shelves: picture-book
The ice-pop sticks that Rosie collects dream of being more than just a stick in a box. They dream of being a horse! Of course Rosie doesn't know this until one night she wishes her box was "a chest full of treasure to pay bills with" so her family won't worry so much anymore. Amazingly her wish comes true at the stroke of midnight when the sticks become a magical horse that gallops off in search of treasure You might be thinking it is all a dream and Stickerino really doesn't exist, but then how ...more
I really enjoyed the sticks, the horse, the tickling the pirates, the ice-cream-stand-transformation, the first-treasure-that-wasn't-the-right-kind-of-treasure...all of the lighthearted fanciful impossible details, but couldn't really enjoy them because they were stuck to the heavy lump of the terrible reality of poverty. For me the disconnect was too great, but for children perhaps Stickerino is just the right antidote? ...more
Kim Zimmerman
Jan 15, 2019 rated it did not like it
Illustrations of the book are great and deserve more stars. Story line is fantasy and fun to read; however, I gave the book 1 star because I could not endorse the part where a treasure chest is stolen and given to the girl's parents to help pay bills. It crossed a personal boundary. ...more
Kathleen Dixon
May 24, 2020 rated it really liked it
Why shouldn't iceblock sticks dream of being a horse?! We imbue all sorts of things, on a regular basis, with human characteristics. Heavens, Hans Christian Andersen gave us a tin soldier many, many years ago, and I just love The Velveteen Rabbit, And our cars. So I'm okay with iceblock sticks being wonderful.

The grandchildren enjoyed this book as much as I did. And if I had any space on my shelves I'd be searching out copies of this and the other Blake -illustrated (and authored) titles to purc
Ruth Heslop
Oct 13, 2018 rated it really liked it
Great book to spark children's own story writing. I used this for a series of lessons with one of my tutees. She created her own story based on this book - but named it 'Lucy's Magic Unicorn'. She loved the autonomy she had to create her own version of the story, but appreciated having some inspiration to guide her story line. This book also sparked great discussion about family and adventure. Imagination is prompted and engagement with the text was sustained throughout! Loved it! ...more
Kaitlyn Konsmo
May 06, 2019 rated it liked it
This colorful book was magical and adventurous. I only gave it three stars since the transitions were rough and the ideas were a bit far-fetched, but it was a fun read that I think kids would enjoy.

Guided Reading: N/A (estimated J)
ATOS: 3.3
Six Traits: Ideas, Presentation
Sarah Adamson
A beautiful and fun magical book about a girl who’s family is struggling. Creative, moral, lovely story to help inspire and guide.
Hawthorn T.-D.
Oct 16, 2020 rated it it was amazing
The girl collects popsicle sticks and they make themselves into a picture horse. The next day when she wakes up, there's a horse in her room! They hunt for pirate treasure. ...more
Jean Marie
Feb 25, 2015 rated it liked it
This is a story book about Rosie and her magic horse, which is actually popsicle sticks she had collected over time. This could be a good book for young girl readers ages 6-7. Students would enjoy this story with the great imagination and creativity Rosie and her popsicle sticks have. The sticks are all collected in a box and wish to one day become a horse. Rosie wishes her box was full of magic treasures.One night when Rosie goes to bed the popsicle sticks come alive, and in the form of a horse ...more
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Nov 15, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: picture-books
Rosie collects popsicle sticks that she finds on the ground, creating a collection. But the popsicle sticks miss their cold sweet ice and wish that they were something more than just discarded sticks. Maybe they could be a horse! Meanwhile, Rosie’s parents are worried about bills and how they will pay them. That night Rosie and the popsicle sticks head out on an adventure together as the popsicle sticks join to become a horse, Stickerino. Rosie wants to find treasure and first the horse takes he ...more
American Mensa
Apr 15, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: picture-books
This book is about a little girl, Rosie, who wants to help her mom and dad pay bills. She has a popsicle stick collection, and when she dreams they come to life to help her solve the family problem. One of the best things about the book is that the girl wants to help out her parents. My parents are always helping me out, and it is nice to see the girl being able to help back.
My favorite part of the story is when a horse leads Rosie to a treasure of ice cream pops. It is treasure and probably ta
Aug 20, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Rosie's Magic Horse is a gem of a book written by Russell Hoban and illustrated by Quentin Blake. Children will immediately recognize Blake's work from Roald Dahl's books. The heartwarming and silly illustrations set the stage for this story, which is about a little girl, who collects ice-pop sticks that she finds on the ground. The sticks wish to be something other. They wish to be something important (after all, who would want to be a used stick in a shoe box), so they become a horse and take ...more
This is a sweet rather wistful pean to the wonders of creativity. Rosie collects popsicle sticks. She also overhears her parents worrying about paying their bills. She imagines her pop sticks become a horse and they fly off and after a few miscues, find treasure. They also find pirates who object to letting go of even some of their treasure. The pop sticks come up with a pretty unique way of attacking the pirates that will make perfect sense to this age level, and Rosie and the pop stick horse f ...more
Jul 30, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A girl named Rosie picks up a discarded ice-pop stick and adds it to her collection, which she keeps in a cigar box. One magical midnight the ice-pop stick collection turns into Stickerino, a flying horse. Rosie longs to pay the mountain of bills that worries her father, and Stickerino takes Rosie over skyscrapers and across desert wastes to a secret pirate hideout full of treasure. Blake's pirates, goggle-eyed and snaggle-toothed, finger their loot with dopey smiles as Rosie and Stickerino appr ...more
Chris Go
Jun 16, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Russell Hoban has written over 50 books for young readers, and sadly this is his last. I remember reading books from his Frances series years ago, and falling in love. After reading "Rosie's Magic Horse", I want to go back and re-read all of his books.

"Rosie's Magic Horse" is about imagination and what if's and never giving up hope. For example, what if a box of discarded ice-pop sticks were more than what they seemed? And what if somehow they could save your family? It sounds pretty far fetched
Rosie collects discarded popsicle sticks, and when she overhears her parents worrying about being able to pay the bills, she dreams--and her dreams come true. The popsicle stick that she picked up earlier in the day has dreams of being something more than just a stick, maybe a horse, and despite the naysaying of the other sticks, he keeps dreaming and aspiring to more. That night, a magic horse helps Rosie find the money her parents need so desperately. This sweet story reminds readers that even ...more
Ugh. Stickerino and "stickling"?! That was the best Russell Hoban could imagine? Oy vey.

The supremely thin storyline - not at all helped by the littering and the author's passive voice about it (excusing his character's bad behaviour by not addressing it is pretty poor writing, in my opinion) - isn't even all that interesting. What message is gleaned from this story - don't pay your bills and magic horse made out of popsicle sticks will save you? Well, lesson learned. Instead of working harder,
Jan 22, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: children-keepers
Firstly, I am extremely biased towards anything Quentin Blake illustrates. I absolutely LOVE his work. If he has illustrated a book, I would probably and most likely, want to read it.

I read this to my four year old last night (with my 13yo listening in). We loved it. Both my girls love horses (so another biased opinion) and this story had them both engaged and intrigued.

My teenager admitted that she often wished she could magic a horse to life and that perhaps, she would start collecting sticks
Jul 05, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: those who love fine illustration
Ohhhh, that Quentin Blake... skill! The five stars are for Mr Blake (five and a half actually). Russell Hoban, you were one trippy writer. Brilliant, but very trippy. I found myself wondering... if this were a book by some other illustrator and author (about some icypole sticks that turn themselves into a magical horse)... what would I think of it? Would I buy it? How much does my preconception of the brilliance of the creators affect my respect for the work? A bit, I think. But the illustration ...more
Nov 20, 2013 rated it liked it
Shelves: read-2013, kidsread
As an adult this was a bit too far fetched. A girls Popsicle stick collection wishes to be something better and when the girl wishes to help her parents out with their bills they rise to the occasion. They become stickerino and help save the treasure from some dastardly pirates.

It fails to really bring back the story to the Popsicle sticks, but just gets a brief mentioned at the end. But for the kids it's a bit more magical and out there that it's amusing enough for them. Not a multiple read typ
Jessica Brown
Dec 19, 2016 rated it liked it
I absolutely adore everything and anything Quentin Blake touches, but this story was really strange. I don't know if I should give it two or three stars, but I went with 3 simply because of the illustrations and the strangeness of it. It's a story about a girl who picks up popsicle sticks off the ground (gross), and keeps them in an old cigar box. She doesn't do anything with them, until they decide they want to be a horse. Then her parents are stressing over money, so Rosie's sticks make the sh ...more
Apr 10, 2013 rated it liked it
While I'm typically not a fan of illustrator Quentin Blake's style, the watercolor spreads in this one really make the book, and some of them are stunning. The whimsical story may be fun for school age kids, but it's a bit weak and not very memorable. I actually decided not to share this story with my four year old, as I don't want to give him the idea it's his responsibility to come up with fantastical ways to pay the bills of our household ... ...more
May 12, 2013 rated it really liked it
What child isn't burdened by the worries their parents voice over financial troubles? Rosie is among the many that meander off to bed with that unfortunate knowledge. When she dreams of a magical horse taking her away to find treasure she isn't the only one living a dream. Her collection of icy pop sticks are living out their dream of transforming into something more than used up icy pop sticks. And in the morning we ask ourselves...was it a dream? ...more
Nov 25, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: picture-books-jp
My favorite kind of magical story - the kind that holds matter of fact magic, the sort of magic that could actually happen if you just know how magic works (believe in it and don't think too much about it and accept it when it appears without question). Adults tend to forget how to do it and, scarily, quite a number of children have as well. Best to remember by reading these sort of tales. And make sure all your magical stories are illustrated by the great Quentin Blake. ...more
Jill Smith
Oct 11, 2015 rated it really liked it
I can say I've read this book, one or two times in fact, perhaps twenty. My grand-daughters love it.

You wouldn't believe that an ice lolly stick picked up from the ground by Rosie would be so special. But, it was. That ice lolly stick was put inside a box with lots of other ice lolly sticks. It was different to the others because it dreamed of being a horse. That's when the magic starts.

My grand-daughters love horses and that's why they especially love this book.
Jun 11, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Some discarded popsicle sticks just KNOW that they are capable of great things, far beyond what anyone ever expected of them. A little girl named Rosie contemplates her family's financial challenges while playing with the sticks right before bed. Dream world and sticks combine to manifest a magic horse capable of flying directly to the treasure and also shape shift as needed. ...more
The Styling Librarian
Rosie’s Magic Horse by Russell Hoban and Quentin Blake – don’t I wish all problems could be solved as simple as this book solves a situation… very cute little story honoring popsicle sticks in quite the memorable fashion. I love the fantastic illustrations that accompany one of my favorite author’s last books.
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Russell Conwell Hoban was an American expatriate writer. His works span many genres, including fantasy, science fiction, mainstream fiction, magical realism, poetry, and children's books. He lived in London, England, from 1969 until his death. (Wikipedia) ...more

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