08 June 2017 by Christina Barker
Title: Five Flower Horse (Stories of animal sign series)
Author: Xue Lin
Reviewer: Christina Barker
On the front cover, The Five Flower Horse is dancing happily in the meadow. It is very bright in line with the rest of the animal sign series books.
Right from the beginning the story draws the reader in by explaining how the horse is very special. Everyone had assumed the horse would win the race but what they didn’t know was how much he liked to dance. By doing this in the race it had cost him dearly and so he did not win. This horse had dreams. He dreamt of becoming a special dancing horse for the emperor Jade. Of course everyone thought he was being silly. All horses were war horses, not dancers. Eventually, the horse got his wish and became the emperors’ best dancing horse. They soon started calling him ‘Five Flower Horse’ because his mane was plaited into five braids with five flowers. I really like how this story captures the imagination whilst you are reading it. It really brings it to life when the animals are talking to each other.
I read this story to my son (aged 5) and he now picks out the coloured text and tries to read those words. He repeats the Chinese words after I have read them to him. He is also starting to recognise the symbols.
Reviewer: Taylor Brooker
This is one of my favourites in the Chinese animal zodiacs for a few reasons, the main one being that the story line is lovely, and so good for children to read about. It’s all about a horse who’s competing in Jade Emperor’s animal race and along the way discovers a passion for dance. Against all the odds the horse follows it’s dancing dream, despite all the negative feedback from friends and family. This is great for children to read as, when they’re young, they have big dreams and aspirations, and should be encouraged to pursue them, not be told that they can’t do certain things because of different reasons. Stories can be highly powerful and stick with children for a long time, so this kind of message is really important.
The illustrations, as in every book, are brilliant, and the bright colours in this one are particularly appealing to children. The detail is incredible, and the character is so believable because it’s consistent, which is crucial!
It’s also nice to see connections between the books in this one, such as when Little White from Daughters of the Land God makes an appearance, and their story lines connect!