Through the Looking Glass Children's Book Reviews

The Magical Christmas Horse

The Magical Christmas Horse

Mary Higgins Clark
Illustrator:   Wendell Minor 
Picture Book
For ages 5 to 7
Simon and Schuster, 2011   ISBN: 978-1416994787

Johnny, his parents, and his little brother Liam live in Arizona where Johnny’s father spends his days out in the desert painting pictures. Though Johnny likes his father’s desert paintings, the ones he likes the best are those that show the stone farmhouse in Connecticut where Johnny’s father grew up.

Johnny dreams about the farm, and about the wooden horse that he played with when he was at the farm for Christmas several years ago. Johnny is therefore thrilled when he parents tell him that they are going to the farm for Christmas this year, and he tells his little brother Liam about the wooden horse. Johnny’s grandfather said that the horse would always be Johnny’s, and since it belongs to him, Johnny decides that he is going to give the horse to Liam as a Christmas gift.

When they get to the farm, it is just as wonderful as it was when Johnny last saw it. The only problem is that the wooden horse is not there. It was loaned out for a historical program and it never came back. Johnny is terribly disappointed that the horse is no longer at the farm. He hates the idea that he is going to break his promise to Liam.  Johnny decides that the only thing left to do is to wish very hard that someone will bring the horse back.

In this heartwarming story, Mark Higgins Clark beautifully captures the essence of the spirit of Christmas. Readers will see how rewarding it is to be able to keep a promise and give someone a special gift, and they will also see how precious close family ties are.

With Wendell Minor’s beautiful illustrations, and a story that is perfect for the holiday season, this picture book is a gift in and of itself; a gift that adults will enjoy sharing with the children in their lives.