Reviews for Water Horse


Booklist Monthly Selections - #2 September 1998
Gr. 3^-5. When eight-year-old Kirstie finds a mysterious egg on the beach after a big storm, no one in the family expects it to hatch. But the next day, after a night in the bathtub, a mysterious little creature is born: part turtle, part horse, part frog, with an alligator tail. Only Kirstie's grandpa knows its true identity: a Water Horse, the sea monster of Scottish legend. The creature becomes a family pet, tamable and lovable, though with a huge appetite. As he grows and grows, the family must decide where to place him, somewhere away from those who would exploit him or, worse, accidentally become his dinner; perhaps Loch Ness would be safest. This well-written, fast-paced fantasy combines a popular subject with appealing, distinctive characters, humor, and drama. King-Smith's imaginative spin on an old myth makes the outrageous possible. Amusing and intriguing the book will appeal to King-Smith's fans as well as those fascinated with creatures of legend. ((Reviewed September 15, 1998)) Copyright 2000 Booklist Reviews

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Horn Book Guide Reviews 1999
Set in the thirties, the book recounts the story of a type of sea monster called a kelpie, or Water Horse, from the moment it is discovered by eight-year-old Kirstie as a giant mermaid's purse, through its hatching in a bathtub, to its final disposition, three years later, when the ""amiable beastie"" is full-grown. Suspense is laced with humor in this fantasy with a compelling pace and appealing premise. Copyright 1999 Horn Book Guide Reviews

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Horn Book Magazine Reviews 1998 #6
First published in England, this beguiling tale is likely to prove popular in the United States. First of all, it is about a monster; secondly, it is about children who, with the assistance of understanding grownups, rescue the monster; and finally, it offers an explanation of what might be lurking in Loch Ness, always an intriguing topic. Set in the thirties, a kinder, gentler era, the book recounts the story of a type of sea monster called a kelpie, or Water Horse, from the moment it is discovered by eight-year-old Kirstie as a giant mermaid's purse, through its hatching in a bathtub, to its final disposition, three years later, when the "amiable beastie" is full-grown. Because the characters are plausible, the events are believable, an effect due also to Dick King-Smith's homespun style. King-Smith presents the story from the perspective of both the children and, unanthropomorphically, the sea monster. Suspense is created as the humans attempt to teach the kelpie what he needs to know in order to survive, but that suspense is laced with humor to provide balance. Is this a family story with overtones of the fantastic, or a fantasy featuring a family? Who cares? Its pace is compelling and the premise appealing. It's an ideal family read-aloud. And there's the final chapter, which suggests that there may be an unknown truth hidden in Loch Ness. m.m.b. Copyright 1999 Horn Book Magazine Reviews

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School Library Journal Reviews 1998 October
Gr 2-5-Set in the 1930s, this story tells of a young Scottish girl, Kirstie, and her brother, Angus, who find a mysterious egg capsule washed up on shore after a storm and take it home. To their delight, this "mermaid's purse" hatches into a lovable sea monster they call Crusoe. It keeps growing and growing, until finally it is too big to live anywhere but in nearby Loch Ness. Children who enjoy animal stories will welcome one about this unusual creature. The characters are believable and, since King-Smith relates events from the point of view of the water horse as well as those of Kirstie and her family, readers get to know the friendly, not-at-all-fearsome monster. Occasional black-and-white illustrations effectively complement the text. Crusoe is bound to make a splash with children everywhere.-Linda W. Tilden, Cherry Hill Library, NJ Copyright 1998 School Library Journal Reviews

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