Cowboy Roy gets a saddle for his birthday. It comes complete with instructions to find a horse and enjoy the ride. But Roy isn’t sure what a horse is. So he sets off on a journey to find out, asking every creature he comes across if it is a horse. Each animal gives him advice, but it’s never enough. When he finally does find a horse, the reader is left with one more misunderstanding.
The basic concept of this story – a character misunderstanding something that the child listening to the book understands completely – is familiar, but there is still room to make it fresh. The poor cowboy in search of a horse is a cute idea, and author/illustrator Andy Rash carries it off well. Children will no doubt be tickled by the silly assumptions that Roy makes in his quest to figure out what to do with his new saddle.
The illustrations are solidly good and appealing. The use of small spackles of black make the pictures look a bit old-fashioned, in keeping with the setting. Speaking of setting, Roy starts off in a desert town, then talks to chameleons, goes to a forest, talks to a sloth, and ends up on a farm. I’m not entirely sure what the setting is, or how fast Roy can walk. But since I doubt any kids will care, I’m going to decide not care either. The point of the story is the humor, and on that front the book delivers.