Through the Looking Glass Children's Book Reviews



Eleanor Koldofsky
Illustrator:  David Parkins 
Picture Book
For ages 6 to 8
Tundra Books, 2005   ISBN: 0887766811

Consuela’s world is full of horses, horses who are working animals. As she goes about her day, Consuela can hear the hoof sounds of many different horses, and each one has its own distinct sound. The horse who pulls the milk wagon is usually first and Consuela greets him with a pat on his “velvet” nose. Then there is the “quick-trot, clippety-clop” of the tea wagon, followed by the carts of the produce man, the rag-and-bone man, the fire wagon, the iceman, and last but not least, the beautiful pinto pony who is owned by Tony the photographer.

Consuela is fond of every single one of the horses she sees. When she notices that the rag-and-bone man’s horse looks hungry, she gives him some much appreciated carrots, and for her act of kindness she is rewarded. In the end her reward turns out to be something that she is will be able to enjoy and remember for the rest of her life.

In this book the author perfectly captures what it might have been like to live in a time when horses were seen all over the place pulling carts, wagons, drays and other vehicles. Consuela is not from a family that has money to throw away, and hers is a world where every carrot and every penny counts, and yet Consuela finds ways to thank the horses who work so hard for their human owners.

With beautifully detailed ink and watercolor illustrations and simple and yet meaningful prose, this picture book is a wonderful tribute to the working horses of the past and to the people who loved and cared for them.