'The best books, reviewed with insight and charm, but without compromise.'
- author Jackie French

Wednesday 22 January 2020

Review: Running With The Horses

This is a story of adventure, courage, friendship and horses. 

Having lived their life with horses, every memory of Nina’s and her father Victor’s, are tied to them. Nina’s mother was a show rider who died when she was four years old.

Nina and the old horse Zelda share a special relationship. When war rages across the globe, shops and businesses in their city all close down. 

Then Nina’s school also closes. 

Viktor and Nina, accompanied by their friend Karl, immediately set out to cross the Alps and reach safety for themselves and the four remaining stallions. But Nina refuses to leave Zelda.

They begin a monumental and dangerous journey through a city being bombed. It is Zelda’s finely tuned intuition that saves their lives.

This beautiful and moving fiction story is inspired by the rescue of the Lipizzaner stallions of the Spanish Riding School during WW2. It has been re-released in a young readers’ edition through Puffin, ten years after the first story was published. It comes with a cloth cover and in a smaller size than the previous picture book published in 2016.

Stunning double spreads depict the escape, travels and threats encountered by the group. Alison Lester’s use of colour emphasizes the terror and danger that the group faced. The vibrant red of explosions, the dark blue shades of danger, the flight of birds in green meadows for hope and resilience, and the brilliance of the snow which heralds safety and new beginnings, accompany her perfect text.

I love her fine-lined images and the alternating use of colour and black and white in the illustrations. This is a perfect gift book for children. It carries a story from history and all the themes that make for perfect reading.
Title: Running with the Horses
Author/Illustrator: Alison Lester
Publisher: Penguin Random House, $16.99
Publication Date: October 2019
Format: Hardcover
ISBN: 9781760892760
For ages: 6 - 8
Type: Picture Book