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What's the most beautiful thing you know about horses? [Hardcover]

Richard Van Camp , George Littlechild
3.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)

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Book Description

Sept. 1 1998
On January's coldest day of the year in a small community in the Northwest Territories, a stranger to horses searches among family and friends for answers to an important question.

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Product Description

From Publishers Weekly

In this slim volume, Van Camp, a member of the Dogrib nation from Canada's Northwest Territories, asks the titular question of friends and family members to gain knowledge of horses. Addressing readers as "partners," the author explains that he is a stranger to horses, for in his often frosty homeland "All's we had up here were dogs." In a voice that moves awkwardly between that of cowboy and poet, the narrator imagines what he'd ask a horse: "Do horses think fireworks are strange flowers blooming in the sky?"; "When horses and dogs talk to each other, what do you think they say?" He then returns to the question posed in the book's title, and the answers he receives form a curious pastiche of impressions, ranging from his mother's comment that horses "must have secrets. When they run they seem to flow over the land" to a buddy's response that he doesn't like horses because "you feel great all day when you ride them but after that you feel bowlegged." Littlechild, who collaborated with Van Camp on A Man Called Raven, conveys a similarly capricious quality in his boldly hued paintings. An array of stylized images of equines and canines cavorting in living rooms and over rooftops as well as the more expected nature scenes incorporate stars and stripes, hearts and horseshoes. Despite the inviting, folksy tone, the book's strongly personal focus and frequently ambiguous meanderings make its potential audience difficult to determine. Ages 6-up.
Copyright 1998 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From School Library Journal

Kindergarten-Grade 3-"It is so cold the ravens refuse to fly." When you live in Canada's Northwest territories, what do you do when it's this cold? This young narrator decides to ask his family and friends, "What's the most beautiful thing you know about horses?" It's a surprise question since dogs are more important to the people of this small Arctic community-horses don't survive here. It is evident that satellite TV viewing influences the responses to the concept of beauty in this southern beast. The author engages in a remarkable free flow of musings, questions, and answers. His startling narrative style, lively pace, offbeat sense of humor, and refreshing stance give readers a lot to think about. The result is a direct and highly amusing comparison of the value of dogs and horses. In Littlechild's vibrant, surrealistic illustrations, horses vibrate and prance off the pages, dogs bay or lounge at the center of attention, and distorted figures eye readers. Brash, bold hues enliven the special aspects of each figure, while narrow bands of color along one side contrast with the central image. Particularly effective are the images pitted against the pitch dark, wintry skies. The use of photos of family members introduces an unexpected sense of reality to the paintings. A stunning piece of work that's sure to spark discussion.
Ronald Jobe, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, Canada
Copyright 1998 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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Today it is forty below in my hometown of Fort Smith in the Northwest Territories of Canada. Read the first page
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Most helpful customer reviews
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I purchased this book as a new book. It arrived today and its NOT new. The cover shows that it was a library book that was discarded by a public library. The spine shows a library catalogue identification number. I am very distressed that I paid over $160.00 Cdn for this book. I was going to give it to my wife as a birthday gift tomorrow. I believe that used copies of the book are selling for under $10.00.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
By A Customer
Format:Hardcover
It's forty below in the Northwest Territories of Canada - so cold the ravens won't fly & Richard can't go outside. He decides to ask his family & friends the question that became the title to this book. Their answers bring a whole other world into light. Brilliantly illustrated by George Littlechild from the Plains Cree Nation, this humorous quest of a youngster's mind during a long winter's day, brings out the silly & the insightful. Makes a lovely gift!
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 4.9 out of 5 stars  7 reviews
5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars What's the most beautiful thing you know about horses? May 28 2000
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
It's forty below in the Northwest Territories of Canada - so cold the ravens won't fly & Richard can't go outside. He decides to ask his family & friends the question that became the title to this book. Their answers bring a whole other world into light. Brilliantly illustrated by George Littlechild from the Plains Cree Nation, this humorous quest of a youngster's mind during a long winter's day, brings out the silly & the insightful. Makes a lovely gift!
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Uplifting story and bold whimiscal art works for young and old Feb. 3 2009
By J. Stone - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
A young Dogrib Indian boy in Northwest Canada wonders about horses and then asks his family and townspeople the question in the title. Their answers come from the heart and are both simple and poetic. The boy asks readers at the end to think of how they would answer the question and then asks, "What's the most beautiful thing that you know about you?" A truly special book that makes you think, filled with bright, bold and lively art that captures the spirit of horses.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A beautiful and culturally rich book Nov. 29 2008
By D. Rachlin - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
This book combines the gorgeous artwork of George Littlechild and the wonderful text by Richard van Camp, both of partial Canadian First Nations heritage. Because the book asks many questions, your students can be asked to respond either orally or in writing, making this book perfect for interactive learning. It is also a wonderful addition to North American culture studies at any grade. The Cree word for horse is written one way (mista'tim) and given a non-corresponding pronunciation hint (mistaim). My source (Meet Cree by H. C. Wolfart) writes horse as: misatim. Not a big deal, but one wonders why this wasn't caught by the editor. Another extended writing assignment would be to change the title to a different animal and have the students ask people to respond in a similar fashion.
5.0 out of 5 stars love it Dec 20 2013
By Pamela W. - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
I wish it was still in print so i could give it to all my horsey friends and their kids!
5.0 out of 5 stars Almost as good as riding Sept. 25 2013
By JOSEPH MCCALEB - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
The text and the illustrations carry the lift of a balanced ride and approach the "true unity" that dances outside articulation, that invites us to go ahead, create meaning in the search for wonder, for the beautiful. I made a video that explores this: [...] and talked about it in my blog: [...] .
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