Rosie finds an old, discarded ice-lolly stick lying on the pavement. Fortunately, she collects ice-lolly sticks, so she puts it in her cigar box with the rest of them. The old sticks are all lying around complaining that, without their lollies, they're nothing. But the new stick isn't prepared to settle for that. He wants to be a horse!
Inspired by his optimism, that night, the cigar box of lolly sticks dreams of being a horse …
Coincidentally, that evening Rosie has seen her parents shaking their heads over a big pile of bills. Before going to sleep, she wishes that her cigar box was a chest full of treasure to pay the bills with, and as she does so, her hands idly make an ice-lolly stick horse …
And at midnight, magic and dreams collide and out of the cigar box gallops Stickerino!
Rosie wakes up just in time to jump on his back and it's now that the adventure really begins. Jungles, deserts, mountains, rogue pirates, and treasure chests all feature in Rosie and Stickerino's night-time escapades. Not surprisingly, there's a happy ending as the casket of gold that awaits Rosie's dad in the morning is more than enough to pay the bills, while the lolly sticks have proved to themselves that they certainly aren't 'nothing' without their ice lollies.
Russell Hoban is a master at manipulating language, and children will delight as the pirates are 'stickled' by lolly sticks until they fall helplessly about laughing, allowing Rosie and Stickerino to escape with the treasure. Quentin Blake's illustrations, as always, are full of character and perfectly match the inventive playfulness of Hoban's narrative.
Originally published in 2012, Rosie's Magic Horse is now available in a new paperback edition.
Title: Rosie's Magic Horse
Author: Russell Hoban
Illustrator: Quentin Blake
Publisher: Walker Books, $15.95 RRP
Publication Date: September 2013
For ages: 2–5
Type: Picture Book