I Cannot Draw a Horse

Union Square Kids. Sept. 2022. 48p. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9781454945949.
K-Gr 2–“This is my shape,” begins a never-seen narrator on a page showing a firmly outlined blue gumdrop. When the shape complains that it is a nothing, the narrator turns it into a cat. “I want a horse,” demands the cat. But horses are hard to draw, so the narrator proceeds to cajole the cat into accepting things that are easier to draw: squirrel, beaver, bunny, dog. Of course, dogs chase cats, who then need hills and skateboards in order to escape. And thus, a zany exchange ensues with the unreasonable cat continuing to demand a fun, fast horse and the narrator diverting him with all manner of gumdrop-shaped alternatives. When the artist discovers that it is, indeed, possible to draw a horse, that horse has no interest in running. He wants a bicycle, which is simply too hard to draw. With antecedents in Harold and the Purple Crayon and the “Elephant and Piggie” books, Harper wields her own mischievous humor. Simple, childlike lines are filled with flat colors on an expansive graph paper ground.
VERDICT An easy-to-read text with exclamatory speech bubbles and pictorial antics will tickle funny bones in this off-kilter circular story.

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