CM January 12, 
1996. Vol. II, Number 13

image How the Pinto Got Her Colour.

Kate Buchholz. Illustrated by Anne Hanley.
Winnipeg: Pemmican Publications, 1995. 31pp, paper, $9.95.
ISBN 0-921827-48-2

Subject Headings:
Indians of North America-Prairie Provinces-Folklore-Juvenile literature.
Horses-Folklore-Juvenile literature.
Tales-Prairie Provinces-Juvenile literature.

Grades 4 - 6 / Ages 9 - 11.
Review by Kenneth Field.


It was at dawn, on an early spring day, when the Great Spirit's favorite mare gave birth to a lovely filly. Although the sun had appeared in the east as a fiery orange ball, its rays had not yet warmed the ground the foal was born upon. The winter frost was slowly coming out of the earth, causing wispy clouds of steam to rise and drift about. It gently covered the mare with a soft, white blanket as if assuring her of privacy while she laboured to bring the foal into this world. With one last strong contraction the mare lifted her head, causing a break in the mist, and the wet, slippery foal made her debut.

In the time before horses were differently coloured, they were all white, causing no end of confusion. In the story that Kate Buchholz tells, the Great Spirit, displeased with this situation, finds a way to make horses distinct from one another. It is the bond that grows between a young native girl, Breeze, and her horse, Tiana, that leads the Great Spirit to the way to make pinto ponies distinct among horses. How the Pinto Got Her Colour is very much about the love of Breeze for her grandfather, her people, and her horse; and the strength that love gives Breeze to overcome adversity.

This is Kate Buchholz's first children's book. She does a good job of portraying the bonds between Breeze and her grandfather, and those between Breeze and Tiana, both of which are crucial to the story. Buchholz moves easily from quiet moments of tenderness and sadness to moments of action and danger, the narrative variety keeping the story flowing well. She is also successful in making the presence of the Great Spirit as guardian of the two protagonists felt throughout the story.

Anne Hanley's illustrations are simple yet evocative. She too captures the changing moods of the story and helps bring it to life. The type used for the text is large and clear which is particularly important as the print is, in most cases, placed on part of the illustration.

Highly recommended.

Kenneth Field is a librarian for Traill College at Trent University in Peterborough, ON.

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Copyright © 1995 the Manitoba Library Association. Reproduction for personal use is permitted only if this copyright notice is maintained. Any other reproduction is prohibited without permission.

Published by
The Manitoba Library Association
ISSN 1201-9364

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