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Little Horses

By Deborah Kelly & Jenni Goodman

Reviewed by Sandy Driessens

Out in the bay where sailboats glide, little horses drift and hide….  Living in the calm waters of a bay, in the safety of a coral reef, two little seahorses raise their young. Feeding on shrimp and hiding from predators they share their habitat with other sea creatures until a violent storm strikes, destroying their home and leaving them without food or shelter. Distressed, they are surprised when something new appears on the seabed and it has baby corals and young sea grass growing on it. It gives them a safe place to hide, feed and live again.
Multi award winning author, Deborah Kelly, has a degree in marine biology and the writing ability, through her repetition, rhyme and rhythm, to describe the tranquil undulations of the seahorse’s habitat and their life therein. When the storm breaks so does her text, but just enough to express the tumbling of the ocean and fear of the seahorses.
Jenni Goodman’s illustrations are spectacular. With paint and pencil, she has portrayed an enchanting underwater world, capturing depth and movement with skill. Her spiraling storm images, characterisation of terror in the animals and motion of text are masterful. The full-page spreads, with delicate detail in the marine animals and their habitat will make you look closely into their colourful world.
Kelly and Goodman have created  perfect harmony between text, images and message. Inspired by true events, ‘the bay’ is Australia’s Port Stevens (north of Newcastle) and after the storm White Seahorses were listed as “endangered”. Seahorse Facts and the creation of Seahorse Hotels by marine scientist, David Harasti are described in the back of the book, discussing their role in recovering seahorse numbers.
This is a very special book that should be shared.  In this story, humans are not responsible for the destruction of a habitat but instead, help to recover it. “Little Horses” could give hope to environmentally anxious primary school-aged children that, if we work together, we can preserve our wonderful world through conservation and habitat rehabilitation.
Wombat Books, 2024 
1942 Amsterdam Ave NY (212) 862-3680

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