Book of the Week: We Need a Horse

September 6, 2011

McSweeney’s has just introduced a new imprint of children’s books and We Need a Horse is the first title I’ve taken a look at. It’s possible that I’m biased — at this point I assume I’ll love anything McSweeney’s publishes. But truly, I think this is a wonderful book.

The story is about a horse with a really big question: why is she a horse and not some other animal? And the story moves on from there as sweetly and gently as it possibly can.

It’s not a long story, but there’s so much to look at in the gorgeous illustrations of Clare Rojas, that it’s still a book to linger over. It feels like a good bedtime story to me, though I haven’t tried it out with the kids yet — I think I’ll save it for a Christmas gift.

P.S. — Do you ever shop ahead for the holidays? Also, I’m working on the next Work/Life Balance post. Planning to share it later today…

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{ 28 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Kari September 6, 2011 at 7:16 am

Looks like a sweet book!

I usually try to start Christmas shopping in October. It’s easier to do if I shop a little at a time. I feel like I can take my time finding just the perfect gift. My Mom Christmas shops all year. As a matter of fact, she’s already about 80% done with this year’s shopping.


2 Design Mom September 6, 2011 at 12:15 pm

High five to your mom!


3 The BabbyMama September 6, 2011 at 7:18 am

I don’t necessarily shop ahead for Christmas gifts, but I do like to keep toys in reserve for unexpected birthday parties and other events! It’s saved my butt in the past ;)


4 Design Mom September 6, 2011 at 12:18 pm

Very wise!


5 Melissa@Julia's Bookbag September 6, 2011 at 8:10 am

This books looks absolutely gorgeous! There are some really wonderful, smaller book publishing companies around now making lovely books for children — it makes me very happy! Every year I say I will shop ahead, but it rarely works out that way…


6 Nadim September 6, 2011 at 8:23 am

Oh… it’s beautifull! I really like illustration like this…


7 bec September 6, 2011 at 8:26 am

Oh, I shop ahead. I think I am done with Christmas already. Unless my kids change what their favorite toys are, which always happens. I like to catch the after Easter sales, after Valentines sales, clearance…


8 Design Mom September 6, 2011 at 12:17 pm

Impressive Bec!


9 Anneliese September 6, 2011 at 8:37 am

I love shopping and making ahead for Christmas. Ideally I’d do it all year long but “drawing names” now prevents this somewhat. I try to get my family to determine the swap on October so I have a bit of a jump. Looking forward to the next “balance” post. Thanks for sharing the beautiful book!


10 Hannah Q. September 6, 2011 at 8:44 am

I adore McSweeney’s. When my husband & I lived in California we used to do some things with 826LA, and I bought him a subscription to their quarterly for his birthday last year. So far I’ve enjoyed every book that they’ve published…I’ll have to check this one out for my nephews and niece!


11 Design Mom September 6, 2011 at 12:17 pm

What a cool wife you are! The McSweeneys Quarterly makes a really good gift.


12 megwrites September 6, 2011 at 9:28 am

It’s pretty brave to be starting a new picture book imprint in this economy! This looks lovely. I’m looking forward to seeing the other books they will be publishing.


13 Anne Evans September 6, 2011 at 10:32 am

beautiful illustrations!


14 Nicole Baksa September 6, 2011 at 11:13 am

I am making myself shop early this year. I always say I will (and never do) but this year I’m due with baby number 2 on Jan. 3rd. If I don’t show early, I may not get to! My goal is to make a list this week of what to get everyone, possibly call a few relatives for ideas, and keep the list in my purse so I can start checking them off. Thanksgiving is my cut off! Wish me luck..nothing like shopping with a 19mo old.


15 Design Mom September 6, 2011 at 12:16 pm

Best of luck, Nicole!


16 Andrea@Fancy That! September 6, 2011 at 1:09 pm

I love full page illustrations in children’s books–though I think I probably stare at them longer than any kiddo ;)

I’ve started planning Christmas gifts though not necessarily purchasing…


17 Cortnie September 6, 2011 at 1:14 pm

Goodness gracious those illustrations are amazing. I’m sold on the book already. Maybe I’ll save it for my boys’ Christmas present as well!



18 Zoe - SlowMama September 6, 2011 at 1:36 pm

Looks like a beautiful book! The theme strikes me as particularly good for my future adopted children (if they ever arrive!) so thanks for recommending it.


19 Pamela Balabuszko-Reay September 6, 2011 at 1:48 pm

As an adoptive Mama I just want to say….hang in there!

If nesting helps with the wait then nest away! I think kid’s books can be great for that. Imagining reading to your kids can be wonderful. What stories make you laugh, hope, learn lessons, quench the thirst for adventure? You can write a note to your kids in the front of each book that describes why you picked the book for them. You already have wisdom to give your kids.

It is so very hard to wait. It took us 10 years to finally have our family. Our two kids are amazing creatures at 9 and 5. Yeah for adoption.

All the best to you mom-to-be!


20 Tasha September 6, 2011 at 2:53 pm

Much luck and speed in your process…(hug)


21 Kathleen September 6, 2011 at 1:43 pm

This is a gorgeous book! I may stock up on it to give various wee family members and godchildren for Christmas. I sort of shop ahead. Or I should say, I try but usually only make it partway.


22 Jill W September 6, 2011 at 2:29 pm

I always shop ahead. Before Christmas every year I open up (by appointment only and then behind a locked door with lots of giggling and coveting ;) ) “Mom’s Store”. Every one comes in and picks out gifts for their siblings and parents and then the wrapping frenzy begins. I store all of the stuff in those big totes in my closet– each of the five kids gets a tote. This system worked great until the summer I took the kids on vacation and came home to find out the husband had cleaned out the closet and consolidated my tubs. Ack! The boy was easy to sort out. But which of the soon to be naked Barbies went to which of the 4 girls?! New Rule: Don’t Touch the Tubs!


23 Tasha September 6, 2011 at 2:51 pm

I am no shop-aheader! I cannot even LOOk at the decorations and displays ALREADY going up in some stores!!! I seriously pretend I don’t notice them out the corner of my eye! I DO love after-holiday sales and have enjoyed stocking up on certain things for the next year for myself…decorations, lights, whatever. I do most shopping online these days for my son and husband (both adults, sort of) and those toys are an easy – hobby, car parts, play tickets, etc. But I am still in there – in that last minute rush…loving it, hating it and getting into the moment…crazy!


24 KJ September 6, 2011 at 3:34 pm

I’m totally a shop ahead kind of a girl. Less stress, more fun. Keeping all the gifts in one drawer/closet means I don’t forget what’s in my stash!


25 KJ September 6, 2011 at 3:35 pm

PS: this book looks like a delight!


26 Emily Schwarting September 7, 2011 at 7:18 am

This book would look amazing on display, it has amazing illustrations!


27 Suzanne September 8, 2011 at 6:19 pm

Have you ever thought about writing a children’s book?


28 Angela March 9, 2012 at 4:46 pm

I love Clare’s work, I am so excited to know she is illustrating children’s books. How fantastic!


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