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The Secret of the Kelpie

4.08  ·  Rating details ·  84 ratings  ·  24 reviews
"Every loch in Scotland, however beautiful, has its cold, dark depths. And every loch in Scotland has its kelpie. But it's easy to forget those dangers on a sunny afternoon..." Flora is playing with her brothers and sisters by the loch when she notices a stunning white horse. While her siblings clamour for a chance to ride the beautiful animal, Flora is worried. Where has ...more
Hardcover, 32 pages
Published May 15th 2016 by Floris Books
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Average rating 4.08  · 
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 ·  84 ratings  ·  24 reviews

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Dec 28, 2018 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Young Folklore Enthusiasts / Readers Looking for Picture-Books with a Scottish Setting
The blacksmith's six children are playing by the shore of the local loch when they spot a beautiful white horse in this retelling of a traditional Scottish folktale. Agnes thinks it might be a princess' horse, while Archie opines that it must be a knight's steed. Led by eldest child Fergus, everyone climbs onto the surprisingly capacious equine. Everyone, that is except for young Flora, who notices its wet hoof prints. It falls to her, the youngest child, to rescue her siblings when the horse tu ...more
Alice (Married To Books)
Children at a Loch are playing a fun game together until the sighting of a mysterious horse comes their way. All but one of the children decide to ride on it. Then, a scary event changes everything and could end up with horrific consequences. A picture book including Scottish folklore about the Kelpie, it was a good read. A couple of the illustrations felt a little scary though!

Julie (Manga Maniac Cafe)
3 stars

Beautiful artwork but kind of a scary story. Flora and her siblings are almost tricked by a kelpie and drowned, but the clever, quick thinking girl saves all of their lives. I have known some rank horses in my life, but the evil kelpie makes them all look like kitty-cats.
Rachel Sawyer
Feb 05, 2021 rated it really liked it
It’s rather spooky, one minute it’s a beautiful horse and the next it tries to drown you. The book serves the purpose of teaching children about kelpies but I’d love to know more.
A fairly simple tale, beautifully illustrated.

-- There was a moment in the story where I thought "if a blacksmith's children don't have any metal on them, what hope does the average peasant child have against this (besides not stupidly climbing on a mystery horse)?"

-- Also, briefly wondered if it would go very dark, with the youngest watching her siblings carried away, mad at being made "it" in their game, and so refusing to help.

-- Not sure how I feel about the last view of the kelpie, where it
Yissel Martinez
This is a great book for kids, because it grabs the attention of readers and it is an adventurous book. For example, when the kids couldn’t get off the horse or when the brothers hands gets stuck in the horses main, so his sister had to help him get unstuck before it was to late. Also, since the horse can change into a huge monster many kids will find this entertaining and interesting. The colors and the pictures itself are very impressive, because they are detailed and they help tell the story. ...more
Every loch in Scotland no matter what it looks like has Kelpie. One day Flora is playing outside with her siblings. They are playing by the loch when she sees a beautiful white horse. Her siblings want to take a ride on the horse. Flora becomes very worried. Flora wonders where this horse came from and why its hoofs were wet! Flora finally realizes that the animal is not a horse but a Kelpie. These creatures were meant to steal children! This story is magical and has all aspects of folklore in o ...more
May 02, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Beautifully illustrated Scottish tale. Flora and her brothers and sisters went to play hide and seek by the loch, and there they found a beautiful horse... Soon they found themselves captives of the kelpie, all except young Flora, who found the kelpie's secret. Do you know how to escape from a kelpie? This book will tell you! ...more
Jan 01, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Bought it for my son for Christmas sight unseen and I'm so glad I did! It's a great tale and is a little more exciting/frightening than most picture books so it held my active son's attention very well. The illustrations are lovely, and the story reads aloud beautifully. ...more
Drew Slanina
This book was interesting. I honestly don't think I would read this to my class. I feel that its gruesome. It bothered me of how Flora and her siblings find a horse, that turns out to be a Kelpie. The issue with this is that the Kelpie is trying to kill Flora and her siblings. ...more
Tristan Wilson
Oct 01, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I thoroughly enjoyed this book! My family is Scottish and I grew up with my Mom telling me stories about old Scottish folk tales and the story of the Kelpies were some of my favorite. Those and the silkies, or seals for the uninitiated.
Savannah Burkhalter
This is a cute little book that students will enjoy reading. Great for a read aloud to students. Students will enjoy this because it is some what suspenseful.
Aug 03, 2018 rated it really liked it
I enjoyed this retelling of the Scottish kelpie legend, with a brave little girl who saves her siblings. The artwork is kinda ethereal looking, and goes well with the story.
Macey Myall
Apr 06, 2021 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: free-choice
This is such a great book! This book will have students on the edge of their seats! I truly believe this would be such a good book for my classroom.
Jamie Call
Nov 24, 2017 rated it liked it
Traditional Fiction
This book is beautifully illustrated. The story is told in a sort of distant tone that makes this book seem like a dream.
Terri Hale
Jan 03, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Enchanting story, beautifully illustrated!
Brenda Hasse
Aug 16, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Beautiful illustrations enhance this Scottish tale of the kelpie.
Tamara Zann
May 31, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: picture-books
Deeply embedded in the Scottish land.
May 22, 2019 rated it really liked it
The story is pretty good and the pictures are fantastic. Best read in a slightly Scottish accent. :)
Apr 24, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Flora and her siblings are playing by the loch when a beautiful white horse appears. Her siblings mount but Flora holds back, concerned by the wet hoof prints. As the beast, increasing in size, heads for the loch, Flora realises it’s a kelpie...

There’s a fine balancing act to writing a dark story for children without making it too scary but the words and artwork complement each other perfectly in this beautiful book to achieve just that.

This tale is based on a traditional kelpie story, of which
Flora and her sibling are playing "Hide-and-Seek" when she finds a beautiful white horse. All the youngsters are charmed by its beauty and except for Flora, they climb on its back. To their horror, the horse turns out to be a kelpie, and they cannot get off the horse once they're aboard. Conveniently, Flora happens to see a carving, which gives her one way to free her siblings. Kelpies, after all, cannot abide metal, and the use of a metal key saves their lives. The story is haunting, and along ...more
Athole McLauchlan
Jan 23, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 5-7
Stunning illustrations and a story that doesn't shy away from the darker elements of the Scottish myth of water horses.
Wee Flora is an inspired little character and reminded me of Small from Levi Penfold's Black Dog. Secret of the Kelpie doesn't do dry humour like Black Dog, though. There is no pretence, the Kelpie really does want to eat the children.
Classic wintertime bedtime story.
Edward Sullivan
Jul 30, 2016 rated it liked it
Shelves: picture-books
In this story based upon Scottish folklore, children discover a beautiful white horse that turns out to be a shape-shifting kelpie in disguise.
rated it it was amazing
Jul 20, 2020
Stevo Brock
rated it it was amazing
Jun 01, 2016
rated it really liked it
Aug 31, 2017
rated it it was ok
Aug 08, 2019
K.A. Wiggins
rated it really liked it
Dec 28, 2016
PottWab Regional Library
Aug 28, 2018 marked it as to-read
Shelves: 2018-new
rated it really liked it
Oct 28, 2020
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I'm a children's writer based in Scotland, and most of my fiction is inspired by the Scottish landscape and local legends. I love writing fantasy adventures for 8-12 year olds, including the Fabled Beast Chronicles and the Spellchasers trilogy, but I also love creating stories for other age groups.
I've gone darker and more dangerous in my YA thriller MindBlind.
And I've worked with amazing illust

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