cover image Snow Horses: A First Night Story

Snow Horses: A First Night Story

Patricia MacLachlan, illus. by Micha Archer. McElderry, $18.99 (40p) ISBN 978-1-5344-7355-3

Evocative artwork and gentle prose from the creators of Prairie Days distinguish this intergenerational tale about a community that celebrates the last night of the year with sleigh rides for young and old. Tim and Tom, the black Percheron horses who pull the sleigh, “love winter./ They love the snow.” Young Jenny, a child portrayed with brown skin, hitches them up, then takes the reins as “sleigh bells sing.” Archer shows a bird’s-eye view of the sleigh crossing a snowy field, a final splash of sunset splendor across the horizon behind them. The community’s children and adults, portrayed with varied skin tones, appear amid lacy ink and paper-collage landscapes rich with patterns and warm hues. First, the children ride through the sparkling town before bed; then, “grandmothers,/ grandfathers,/ aunts and uncles,/ and longtime friends” take a turn, remembering their own youths. Text by the late MacLachlan captures incidents others might miss (“A little golden dog comes out to run alongside/ the horses—a beacon in the dark”), and the rhythm of the lines lulls while conveying pleasure and excitement. It’s a celebratory winter story that many can share. Ages 4–8. (Nov.)