The Racehorse Who Didn't Like to Run

Children - Animals
30 Pages
Reviewed on 12/03/2018
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Author Biography

M.J. Evans has received numerous literary awards for her middle-grade and young adult novels, most of which are fantasy and most of which involve horses or horse fantasy creatures. Percy is her first picture book and she very much enjoyed working with an illustrator. The finished product is beautiful!

M.J. lives in Colorado with her husband, three horses and a standard poodle.

    Book Review

Reviewed by Donna Gielow McFarland for Readers' Favorite

Percy: The Racehorse Who Didn’t Like to Run by award-winning author M.J. Evans is a sweet, touching story in picture book form about a young colt bred to be a racehorse, but he doesn’t like to run around with the other colts and fillies. Percy would much rather smell the flowers and spend time with a little boy in a wheel chair who comes to visit every day. Percy’s mother insists that Percy was born to be a racehorse and his purpose is to run, so Percy is sad until an old mare suggests that, racehorse or not, Percy might have a more important purpose. It all becomes clear when the yearlings are sold at auction. At the end of the book, M.J. Evans includes a nice glossary of horse terms and some information for people who want to know more.

Much of the language in Percy: The Racehorse Who Didn’t Like to Run is rich in vocabulary and Gaspar Sabater’s full color illustrations are simple but pleasing. I thought M.J. Evans’ message in Percy is beautifully conveyed: be yourself, find your own purpose, but the story was even more than that. This short picture book actually made me cry a little! M.J. Evans has figured out how to write beyond a good story to reach out and touch hearts. Highly recommended for children of picture book age, whether horse lovers or not, whether disabled or not. Percy: The Racehorse Who Didn’t Like to Run is an inspirational and beautiful story to read aloud.

Jack Magnus

Percy: The Racehorse Who Didn't Like to Run is a children’s picture book written by M.J. Evans and illustrated by Gaspar Sabater. When it was very cold and snowy outside, too cold even for the owls and foxes huddled deep within their dens, Percy was warm and comfortable inside the barn, where he lay as his mother licked him clean. She was proud of her newborn colt, who came from a distinguished line of racehorses, and she told him that one day he would be great like his father and grandfather. When spring came, Percy and the other colts loved to play in the pasture as the mother horses watched. Percy’s mother would encourage him to run with the other colts because she knew he had to practice to be a great racer, but Percy was happier sniffing the flowers and watching the butterflies. He knew he should like to run, but he just didn’t really. Then one day, as he was playing, he saw a boy in a strange chair, who seemed to be watching him. The boy knew his name, and they soon became the best of friends. Did that boy know Percy’s purpose? Would Percy ever find out?

M.J. Evans’ children’s picture book, Percy: The Racehorse Who Didn't Like to Run, introduces the subject of therapeutic horsemanship to children in this inspiring story about a racehorse whose purpose was something he had yet to discover. When I opened up to the first page in this awesome book, I was totally blown away by Gaspar Sabater’s impressive artwork. The windows of his snow-covered barn shine brightly out onto a bitterly cold and snowy scene, leading the reader to enter through those double doors and catch a first glimpse of that newborn colt. The story captures the first year of a colt’s life, and Sabater’s artwork follows the four seasons brilliantly. Evans’ story will resonate with any kid who feels different and at odds with his parents’ and peers’ expectations of him, and it introduces the marvels of therapeutic horsemanship to caregivers and kids alike. Perfectly suited for both story time and independent reading by young readers, Percy: The Racehorse Who Didn't Like to Run is most highly recommended.

Ankita Shukla

Encouraging kids from an early age to follow their dreams is definitely very important. I believe Percy: The Racehorse Who Didn't Like to Run by M.J. Evans is an admirable effort in that direction. It is the story of Percy -- a horse whose mother insists that he is born to be a racehorse. According to his mother, that is the purpose of his life. The problem, however, is the fact that Percy's heart is not in racing. He does not like to run around with other foals. His mother would push him to run, and he would do it only to oblige to his mother. He found spending time with a little boy, who visits him every day in his wheelchair, more to his liking. This struggle of doing what is apparently his purpose in life and not finding his heart in it is the basis of Percy: The Racehorse Who Didn't Like to Run.

The appearance of a book is of utmost importance if it's a children's book. By including cute and colorful graphics, the author has checked this significant parameter. The story is written in an easy to understand language and has useful information about the terms that are used to denote young horses. There is a glossary at the end of the book to explain the various terms used throughout the pages. Percy's journey is insightful without being too complex and is easy to follow. This book would motivate kids to think about their own purpose in life, which would open new topics for discussion between kids and their parents. I would recommend this book to all parents who want their kids to think about their dreams and life's purpose from an early age.