By Ed Galing
Illustrated by Erin E. Stead
A Neal Porter Book
February 07, 2017
Tony was all white,
with wide gentle eyes
and a ton of love…
it was early in the morning
around three a.m.,
but I was up, and would
go out and pat Tony with my gentle arms, and his head would bow down.
A touching tale of a boy and a horse, by the late poet Ed Galing and illustrated with remarkable tenderness by Caldecott-winning artist Erin Stead.
“The tenderness of [Galing’s] words (“Tony was all white,/ large, sturdy,/ with wide gentle eyes/ and a ton of love”), combined with Stead’s exquisite portraits, allows readers entry into the world shared by boy and horse.”–Publishers Weekly, starred review
“Stead’s astonishing pencil illustrations, simultaneously granular and silkily suggestive, deliver corporeal portraits of Tony’s musculature, his lashes, cocked ear, subdued sentience, and pathos. Her foggy, blotted green-and-gold palette (achieved through monoprinting) suggests not only nocturnal darkness and lamplight, but also the patina of coppered time. Gauzy line drawings and matte colors surface in ample creamy, blank space, just as memories float up out of the subconscious. At once moody and poignant, murky and clear, intensely personal and vague, atmospheric and studiously specific, the pictures and language cohere magically to remind readers how memories often shimmer and shape-shift. Young readers will simply marvel at the poem’s lulling, looping cadence and at the pictures’ extraordinary empathy and likeness—fitting enough for a story about a horse, his driver, eggs, milk, butter, and a man’s pure, simple appreciation. Readers will hear the “clip-clop, clip-clop, clip-clop” in every image of this astonishing book.”–Kirkus, starred review
“This beautiful picture book of kindness and friendship is simple in text and rich in content—a treasure. . . . The illustrations and text work together perfectly, conveying a story for readers of all ages. VERDICT A little slice of history, pure and simple, best enjoyed one-on-one or in a small group setting.” —School Library Journal