This time of year wonder abounds and young readers will find much to enjoy in “Thunder Horse” a picture book by Eve Bunting, the fantastical story of a magical horse gifted to a little girl.
The horse is far from the norm, a special present from the girl’s Aunt Aldora – a tiny white steed her aunt brought from a Greek island. “…because I know how you like wondrous things,” she tells the child, as she hands her the horse, no bigger than a small dog, and perfect for walking on a leash.
The girl and her new pet become fast friends, and soft illustrations in muted colors by Dennis Nolan detail the fun they have together, and the affection that develops between them, as the horse grows in size and sprouts feathery, white wings.
When the girl takes her horse to school to share it with her teacher, the wise instructor recognizes this special horse – “Pegasus, the winged thunder horse who lived in the palace of the Greek god, Zeus,” she explains, a book open on her lap, adding that Pagasus also is part of a constellation.
Soon Thunder Horse is full-grown, a magnificent animal with powerful muscles and strong wings. With the girl on his back, they glide amongst the clouds and stars – until the evening Thunder Horse makes a solo journey, leaving the girl below, pining for her adored friend. With a last glance at the girl, the horse rises, looking back as if to tell her something.
That secret is revealed as the book completes its tale, offering a timely message about the power of love – and the miracles it offers. This story will have special appeal to little girls who love horses, and is fitting for children ages 5-8.