No Yellow Horse, If You Please, written by Linda Loper Morris and co-illustrated with Hilbert Bermejo, is a nicely designed picture book for young children that celebrates word play. With a charming surprise ending that empowers preschoolers, the story is warm and imaginative.
Hana and her mother love playing word games. Their story begins one morning when they decide to name things that are yellow. The list begins with roses, lemons and ribbons. Hana suggests a prancing yellow horse, and her mother quickly corrects her: there is no such thing as a yellow horse, she instructs. The word game continues as Hana’s Mama names many things that are yellow– bananas, taxis, raincoats and lollipops for instance, or daffodils, school buses and bouncing ballsÂ¬– but the little girl insists on the existence of a yellow horse.
Finally, Hana zooms to her room and digs through her toy box. Near the bottom, she finds her cherished toy yellow horse and shows it to her mother. The horse was once white but it got very dirty and Hana painted it yellow. Mama laughs and apologizes. The story ends with mother and daughter hugging.
No Yellow Horse, If You Please suffers from a few minor drawbacks: the poetry of the text is not always strong and can distract from the charm of the story, which could be just as effective as a non-rhyming, narrative picture book. In addition, the illustration on page 16 seems to be in a completely different illustration style, which is visually jarring.
But with its bright yellow cover and simple, mostly vibrant illustrations, this is a lively example of creative, educational play in action.
Also available in hardcover.