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If I Had a Horse
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If I Had a Horse

3.94  ·  Rating details ·  310 Ratings  ·  101 Reviews
If I Had a Horse is an inspiring picture book with simple text and gorgeous, impressionistic artwork from acclaimed author-illustrator Gianna Marino about a girl imagining what life would be like with a horse.
Hardcover, 40 pages
Published January 30th 2018 by Roaring Brook Press
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Deb (Readerbuzz) Nance
Oct 12, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: animals, children
If I Had a Horse is the story of a young child musing about all the things they could do if the child had a horse. The pictures are lovely silouettes, with bright painted color, which emphasize the universality of the love of children and horses.
Mar 07, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: picture-books
I keep thinking about this book and its gorgeous illustrations weeks after I finished it. I was lucky enough to have horses around to ride as a kid growing up in rural Texas but they were never my own, and I can't count the number of imaginary horse pals I pretended to have -- Marino really captures that same feeling of magic and longing. In fact, every year at Christmas when my dad (the reason I love horses) would unwrap his gifts, he'd ask "Is it a pony?!" and I wish I could share this book wi ...more
Baby Bookworm
Sep 24, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: our-reviews
Hello, friends. Our book today is If I Had A Horse by Gianna Marino, a stunning imagining of a child’s dream.

A young child imagines a common dream: what if they had a horse? If they had a horse, they would bring it the biggest apple they could find. They would need to be patient, and approach with caution and calm. The horse may be shy at first, like the child often is. But once it horse was within reach, they could give it a hug, and become its friend. From there, it will take, not only patienc
L.M. Ransom
This book perfectly encapsulates the feelings I had when I received my first pony, Misty. She was a chestnut and white pinto Welsh-cross, and I rode her bareback with a simple bridle that had binder twine reins because we had broken the real ones. We raced (at a trot, because any faster than that and she'd buck me off) across the pasture, chasing the young steers my grandpa kept with her, and every wild fantasy I'd ever had about owning a pony came true.

The colors in this book are gorgeous, a
Jillian Heise
A stunning picture book about dreams & identity & bravery. Gianna Marino is one of my favorite #kidlitwomen illustrators, & her watercolor art in this one is gorgeous and wistfully evocative with shadowy silhouettes that draw the reader into the story.
Oct 11, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: fiction, for-alena
Beautiful watercolor illustrations. The style really adds to the imaginative aspect of the story. This one just made me happy.
Jessica Furtado
Jan 30, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: children-s-books
Text didn't grab me, but the illustrations are stunning, and the relationship between the girl and her imaginary horse is quite endearing.
Cindy Mitchell *Kiss the Book*
Marino, Gianna If I had a Horse. PICTURE BOOK. Neal Porter (Macmillan), 2018. $18. 9781626729087

A little girl meets a horse –she feeds it an apple, hugs it until it lets it ride her, learns to ride, and together they can do anything. Filled with extra large and bright watercolor illustrations.

I was SO excited to see a book in my pile by this author/illustrator (one of my favorites) –but I didn’t care for this one. It was somehow very pre-k in text yet older in wordplay. I did like that illustra
Mar 14, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: picture-books
This poetic picture book dreams of having a horse. The entire book is dreamy and soft, a more spiritual and sense-filled look at horses than the reality of barns and saddles. In the images, the little girl meets a horse in a field and offers him the largest apple she can find. There are moments of shyness and quiet as the two meet. They admire one another’s qualities of strength and gentleness. The little girl does ride the horse but not so easily until they become better friends. Then they head ...more
Danielle Long
Feb 16, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: children-s
Coming from the perspective of growing up around horses and having them. This little book speaks to my heart. Most girls always dream of having a horse sometime in their lives. I was grateful enough to have one.
The hopes of this girl in "If I had a Horse" are simple wishes. What girl doesn't dream of being wild and free? What girl doesn't dream of being fearless and strong? Or going out and being adventurous?
The illustrations are gorgeous in my opinion. She is wishing she had a horse and the dr
Sandy Brehl
Don't pick up this book until you have time to absorb the dreamlike double spreads, immersing yourself in the luminous aspirations of the narrator (created so that both boys and girls might identify with the low each single-line page). After several re-readings. I began to comparing the lines and images to friendship advice of THE LITLE PRINCE.( This could easily be used in a classroom or with an individual child who struggles with making friends.)
We all have dreams, but not all dreams come true
Carol  Vanhook
Any child will love this book. Each page opens to a full-spread picture as a little child wishes for a horse. "If I had a horse, I would bring him the biggest apple I could find." And so begins a great friendship between child and horse. The child ponders what qualities are important to care for this animal. The imaginations are vivid, yet dreamy, in all shades of the rainbow. The watercolors splash on the page depicting beautiful landscapes and silhouettes of horse and child, riding together, f ...more
Vernon Area Public Library KIDS
Oct 17, 2018 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Toddler-Preschool
Marino celebrates a child's dream of having a horse--of the friends they would make and the free-spirited joy they would share. The watercolor illustrations are similar to negative art and somewhat featureless but full of emotion and tenderness, making the child and horse pop on the page for a large group reading. With only 5-8 words per page, Marino captures the thrill of horseriding, ownership, and making a new friend.

Reviewed by: Miss Kelsey, Youth and School Services, Vernon Area Public Libr
Wow. This is a unique but gorgeous book. I like how the endpapers play a role color-wise, and you can see the space between the girl/character and horse when they are getting to know each other.

Book jacket opens up to show long horse
Endpapers are colors of horse and also the horse - different parts on front and back endpapers
Landscape orientation to show whole horse and girl, sometimes with space between them when there is fear
Apr 20, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: picture-books
I fell in love with the cover first. The illustrations are beautiful and dreamy and so perfect for taking me back to when I was a little girl and dreamed of having my own horse, tiger, whale, dolphin, dinosaur, Pegasus, elephant, bear, and... well. Dreamy all around. Now I am stuck in my head, picturing myself like the little girl on the cover, looking at my amazing horse. Oh, and, my girls loved it, too.
Robin Loughlin
May 04, 2018 rated it really liked it
This was a very sweet book and easy to read to a child. I like the colorful illustrations, with the muted type pictures because it seems to leave more to the child's imagination and allow them to think about what it would be like to have a horse. The text helps a child think of the different characteristics that are important in having a horse, and how you both need to adapt to each other, and it takes time.
Jared White
In a way the illustrations are simple, but they're also so beautiful that I started a new shelf entitled "beautiful books." Because the whole thing is just silhouettes, I'm not actually sure the youngest folks would be able to tell what the pictures are, because they may be too abstract. But, for about kindergarten and above, I think they could probably appreciate the pictures and enjoy the fearlessness and friendship contained in the simple text.
Cheriee Weichel
Jun 19, 2018 rated it it was amazing
The text is simple but powerful. The illustrations, right from the end papers, are to swoon over. I'm not exaggerating. I reread it at least three times and each time I wanted to lose myself in these colour washes. Told in silhouette and first a young person imagines how their life would be different if only they had a horse. Make sure you read this. It's glorious!
Ann Haefele
Apr 08, 2018 rated it really liked it
The word “Caldecott” is already being mentioned as a possible award for this book about a girl dreaming about life with a horse. It is done in watercolors and is all in silhouettes. The illustrations are stunning and complement the words. I am not a horse lover, but enjoyed the book, and it almost convinced me that I should be a horse lover!
The story with brief text and glorious action is just enough to show the joy of a young girl with her horse. She brings him the biggest apple she can, and slowly, slowly they become friends until they learn to be both brave and gentle together. Shadowed, but colored, illustrations fill the pages as they show the relationship of this girl's dream--If she had a horse.
Apr 10, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: school
The illustrations in this book are simply stunning. The children loved figuring out why the artist chose the colors she did and limited her palate in each illustration. The text was fine, but the real story is told with the illustrations! The kids had such fun creating their own page of this book.
Feb 19, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: picture
A young girl yearns for a horse and this story implies with a friend for a horse one can do anything.

I'm not sure if they horse is a metaphor for something/someone else, but I'm not totally sold that anyone needs a pet to help them achieve their dreams. Yet it is a lovely story with unusually colored abstract illustrations.
Oct 17, 2018 rated it really liked it
Age: Toddler-Preschool
Animals: Horse

Marino celebrates a child's dream of having a horse. The watercolor illustrations are similar to negative art and somewhat featureless but full of emotion and tenderness, making the child and horse pop on the page for a large group reading. With only 5-8 words per page, Marino captures the thrill of horseriding, ownership, and making a new friend.
mary dewley
Feb 10, 2018 rated it really liked it
The vivid watercolor illustrations are filled with emotion and mood, changing on each page to convey the relationship between the the child and the horse as the come to understand one another. I love that both the child and the horse are silhouettes, shadows that can represent any child or any horse and allows the imagination of the reader to place themselves within the story.
Laura G
I didn't grow up with horses, but I loved this book anyway! Such gorgeous illustrations! I can only imagine how much horse-lovers might adore it! The rich, colorful illustrations provided perfect enhancement for the spare, poetic text, and the themes of a girl seeking adventure, courage, relationship, resilience are wonderful.
Mister David
Sep 18, 2018 rated it really liked it
Beautiful large picture book with wonderful watercolor illustrations. The simple and sparse text, as well as the use of blocks of colors make this book especially good for reading to very young children.
Mar 14, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I love this book, probably because it brought back memories of pet ponies and horses we had when I was a child. After I read it at the library, I ordered four copies from Amazon to share with family. The wording is concise but evocative and the illustrations dreamy and colorful. Beautiful!
Frances Hotchkiss
May 05, 2018 rated it really liked it
What a beautiful sweet story about the magical relationship between a horse and a child. I loved the colorful illustrations and dreamy quality. The brief text will make a great read for story times for younger children! Definitely a winner for all horse lovers!!!
The story is good, but the illustrations are beautiful! They stole the show over any text that could've existed beside it. Gorgeous watercolors that leave an impression of a shape rather than all of the detail, letting your imagination fill in the spaces.
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Gianna Marino was born in San Francisco and spent her early years galloping horses through Golden Gate Park. Her explorations expanded after graduating from high school and in order to afford her many journeys, Gianna had several jobs at once: apprenticing a muralist, a jewelry designer, a product designer and driving horse carriages through the park. Gianna explored many corners of the world, fro ...more