cover image The Wild Horses of Sweetbriar

The Wild Horses of Sweetbriar

Natalie Kinsey-Warnock. Dutton Books, $14.99 (32pp) ISBN 978-0-525-65015-7

Based on a true story, this is a girl's touching recollection of the unusually severe winter of 1903, which she spent on a small island near Nantucket. Although her father, who worked for the Coast Guard, visited regularly, the girl and her mother were the island's only human inhabitants. But they shared this isolated piece of land with 10 wild horses, who ``flew across the sand like windblown seeds and their dark hooves splashed stars from the sea.'' When the snow covered up the horses' grazing ground, the hungry animals appeared at the girl's house, where they were given bread, carrots and even straw from the youngster's own bed. The girl and her family ultimately moved on to live elsewhere, but she never forgot this very special place and its wild horses--her friends. Rand ( Knots on a Counting Rope ; The Sun, the Wind & the Rain ) excels at this type of sweeping, naturalistic art, and his pictures here successfully convey the story's drama and the dignity of these magnificent steeds. Kinsey-Warnock's appealing, poetic text is a stirring account of the struggle between people and the forces of nature. Ages 4-8. (Sept.)