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Reviews Comments: The only children's book to feature an OD'd horse Latawnya The Naughty Horse Learns To Say No To Drugs issue/book review by Bonsai Forest
I have to wonder sometimes what people are thinking when they create the things they make. Stupid design decisions appear all the time in movies, cartoons, books, video games, and every other media, but sometimes you come across something that's flawed in so many ways and so completely broken, that you really have to wonder how such things could get made. Like here. Here we have a children's book, written at a very young level, about horses who drink and "smoke drugs". Realistic illustrations depict realistic horses frolicking through the grass, happily playing outside, and standing around with joints and beer bottles in their mouths. Later, the parents tell naughty Latawnya of a family friend who died of an overdose, with an illustration depicting the dead horse in question, a joint lying near his mouth, while two horses stand nearby, one with tears dripping down its face. You just have to wonder what was going through the author's head as she wrote this book. Is this appropriate subject matter for the age level it was written at, roughly the first/second-grade level? I would argue yes, but it could have been handled better. Why the use of horses? Is it because she thought kids could relate to animals better? Is it because her own children love horses? The use of non-anthropomorphic horses is just utterly surreal, considering that they engage in behavior that, to say the least, requires opposable thumbs if nothing else. If she wanted to get the moral across to her readers better, perhaps human characters would have worked better, a la My Big Sister Takes Drugs by Judith Vigna, which is written at the same age level. That book has the benefit of not only human characters who can be more easily related to, but also a more realistic situation. But by simplifying the moral, and using horse characters who are not even human-like (and thus would look more natural holding a joint rather than merely having it stick out of their mouth), to say nothing of the repetitive writing and unrealistic plot, the author creates a book that is unintentionally hilarious, and thus, a true classic.
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