Through the Looking Glass Children's Book Reviews

The Water Horse

The Water Horse

Dick King-Smith
Illustrator:  David Parkins 
For ages 8 to 10
Random House, 2007   ISBN: 978-0375842313

A terrible storm has hit the east coast of Scotland and for a while Kirstie worries that her house on the cliff top will be torn away by the wind and the waves. But, thankfully, the storm ends and the house is still standing. In a great state of excitement Kirstie goes down to the beach below the house to see what the storm has thrown up there.

Down on the sand Kristie, her mother, her little brother Angus and her grandfather find what looks like a mermaid's purse – the egg case of a dogfish. Only this particular mermaid's purse is a lot larger than the ones the children have seen before.

Not wanting to leave the egg case behind on the beach Kristie takes it up to the house and puts it into a bucket. Then, at the end of the day after everyone has bathed, Kristie puts her find into the family bathtub.

In the morning Kristie discovers that the creature which was growing inside the egg case has hatched. The creature is the size of a ""newborn kitten"" and Angus announces that what they have found is a baby sea monster. It certainly looks like a sea monster and it certainly likes to eat fish. It is only when the children's grandfather sees the animal that they learn that their creature is what the locals call a Water Horse. Their grandfather tells them that they must not tell anyone about the Water Horse and the children promise to keep the secret.

Should any of us have had the privilege of trying to raise a Water Horse, this book will be an invaluable guide. It shows readers how hard it is to raise an unconventional pet and how complicated things become when the pet begins to get really big. With humor and warmth Dick King-Smith has created a tale which children will want to read again and again. Told from the point of view of the children and from Crusoe the Water Horse's point of view, this book is a must for animal lovers.