cover image Snowy


Michael Moorcock, Berlie Doherty. Dial Books, $14 (320pp) ISBN 978-0-8037-1343-7

Rachel desperately wants to participate in pet day at school, but her parents tell her that Snowy, the white horse that tows the family's barge, will be working at the time. But not to worry: in this heartwarming if idealized story, Rachel's sympathetic teacher arranges for her students to ride the barge and meet Snowy, festooned with ribbons and bells, and pleasingly smelling of haystacks. While canal rides and barges are probably more European than American (this book was first published in England), children everywhere will understand Rachel's need to feel accepted. The impressionistic pastel crayon drawings of the countryside are richly hued in greens, golds and indigos; for horse lovers, a particularly beautiful spread shows Snowy full-figure. The pictures really come alive, though, when the brightly painted barge appears (``just like a painted swan'') and the children enjoy a slow trip down the canal in the warm country air. Ages 4-8. (Feb.)