It’s sometime early in the 16th century, on the North American continent. (Unless I skipped a sentence by accident, time, location and clan remain unspecified.) Oak is a boy who lives with the Deer clan. After a hunt goes wrong, he finds himself lost, with only a horse to help him find his way home through the hostile territory of the Bear clan.
But as this is the 16th century, horses are still new to the continent and Oak has no idea what kind of creature it is. So the key attraction of this excellent book is not only the description of how Oak learns to deal with a horse, but how the horse learns to deal with Oak.
Tanya Landman accomplishes the latter with short, sharp sentences – sometimes only one word – that convey the animal’s instinctive reactions to everything it encounters. And because we understand what the horse is thinking, it adds an extra level of tension to Oak’s struggles to survive. He needs the horse, but the horse is only going to help if Oak can offer it what it * needs.
I can never get enough of horse stories – for children or adults – and this is one of the best. Any fellow lover should run to the nearest bookshop to pick it up.
*As far as I can recall, the book never states whether the horse is male or female; hence the use of it.