cover image Randy, the Badly Drawn Horse

Randy, the Badly Drawn Horse

T.L. McBeth. Holt/Godwin, $18.99 (40p) ISBN 978-1-250-18590-7

An unseen child draws a horse—stubby, uneven legs; googly eyes and toothy smile; a squiggly line for a mane—and declares the picture beautiful. The child’s mother agrees (“He is beautiful! Great job, dear!”). Who could blame the crayoned figure, christened Randy (a name “reserved only for the most special of creatures”), for believing them? With a well-stocked craft stash, the child, through speech balloons, sends the two-dimensional Randy on grand adventures: scaling a crumpled paper mountain, navigating a popsicle stick and cotton ball forest, trekking through the desert under a giant, blazing construction paper sun. Randy, in asides to the reader, shows that he is game for... almost all of it—until he sees his reflection in a pool of water and realizes that he’s not the equine Platonic ideal he’s been led to believe. McBeth’s (Ducks!) meta-comedy is filled with three-dimensional illustrations (a shared snack results in pages smudged with peanut butter and jelly), and the grandiosity shared by artist and artwork should inspire stirring, if silly, readalouds. Best of all, the final pages offer a lovely affirmation of creativity and unconditional love as the child reaffirms Randy as a great adventurer, worthy of affection. Ages 4–8. (Aug.)