Inspired by her storytelling grandson, Johnny Bob, Glenda Buckmier’s delightful children’s tale follows the adventures of a determined horse who wants to go on a shopping spree.
Dusty the horse lives a happy life on Bill Green’s busy working farm. Amidst a comfortable landscape featuring a red barn, rolling hills, green pastures and dairy cows, Dusty gets to eat, sleep, work and play. Among his pastimes are playing card games with the resident cat and dog and perusing the shopping fliers for sales at his favorite Everything Store.
In need of a new pair of shoes, Dusty gets Farmer Bill to take him to town. Ultimately, the excursion becomes a unique publicity opportunity for the store, as customers and locals get wind of a horse that talks and loves to shop.
Anthropomorphic animals are often an enticement for youngsters, and Buckmier provides a central character with personality plus. Dusty is not only a horse with fashion flair (think yellow boots with polka dots) but he prefers to do his own shopping and also likes to make purchases for his human and animal friends.
The story is steadily paced and easily comprehended. While the book’s down-home feel may not appeal to readers who prefer more modern-day fare, the storyline is engaging. One big issue, however, is the length: Pages are often text heavy—far more so than traditional picture books—and the overabundance of words is likely to overwhelm young readers.
Simple color illustrations highlight the action, but unfortunately, faded backgrounds appear a bit lackluster and a humorous full-page picture of card-playing animals is repeated on a later page.
Buckmier weaves subtle lessons about honor, determination and following the rules in her story, but the main draw is that it’s an entertaining, wholesome read. Children will enjoy letting their imaginations run wild with this likeable and engaging talking horse, but some pruning of text would enhance its marketability.
Also available in hardcover and ebook.