For horse-loving readers of all ages, a lyrical and exquisitely illustrated picture book following the relationship between a boy and a horse, separated then reunited. This is a story about enduring friendships and how language is shaped by our experiences.
The foal is born on a spring morning of sunshine and snow melt. If she had words, she would say willow, crocus, puddle and sky . . .
Red Badger is a newborn foal learning to stand when she slips and gets stuck in a muddy badger hole. It is a young boy who frees her, and his kindness and gentleness mark the beginning of their friendship -- though she will always be wary of the ground that briefly trapped her. As the seasons pass on the ranch, Red Badger learns more about her world: Fall is leaf rustle and fence posts. Winter is white hills and long nights. The boy is hay, a gentle touch, playing in the snow and the sweet smell of peppermints. If a horse had words, the word would be . . . friend.
This is a beautifully written and heartwarming story told from the horse's point of view that follows her relationship with a boy from the day she is born, to when she is sent to auction, to the day she and the boy are reunited at a rodeo where she has become a bronc and he a cowboy.
KELLY COOPER grew up in the tiny farming community of Senlac, Saskatchewan, where she vaccinated, branded and ear-tagged cattle, sorted calves on foot and on horseback, drove cattle to pasture on horseback and drove a tractor and a three-ton truck. Kelly later moved to New Brunswick and now lives on a dairy farm with one husband, two daughters, a hundred cows, many cats and two donkeys. Kelly has years of experience teaching language arts and visual arts and has worked with students of all ages. She has written for radio, and her poetry, short fiction and creative non-fiction have been published in a number of Canadian literary journals and several anthologies. She has previously published a collection of linked stories, Eyehill. This is her first book for children.
LUCY ELDRIDGE is a traditional artist who works primarily in watercolor and gouache to create beautiful, whimsical illustrations. She finds inspiration for her work from a variety of things, including pebbles found on the beach, biscuits, origami paper, dictionaries, maps, Chinese brush painting, clouds, trees, trinkets and cats. Lucy illustrated the middle-grade novel Welcome to Nowhere by Elizabeth Laird. This is her first picture book. She is based in Brighton, UK.
"Readers drawn to stories about the unbreakable bonds between children and animals will remember this one." --starred review, Publishers Weekly
"This book is written in a poetic and lyrical manner. . . . A solid and engaging choice for horse lovers or anyone who has ever bonded with an animal." --School Library Journal
"If a Horse Had Words is a colourful exploration of language and friendship. . . . [A] gentle and emotive story [that] will capture the hearts of many readers. The illustrations and lyrical text bring the story to life and capture a gentle sense of whimsy that will delight and engage young readers. Highly recommended." --CM Magazine