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Adventures of the Little Wooden Horse…

Adventures of the Little Wooden Horse (Kingfisher Classics) (original 1938; edition 2005)

by Ursula Moray Williams, Paul Howard (Illustrator), Vivian French (Foreword)

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1877111,744 (4.17)4
When the toymaker falls on hard times, his little wooden horse must go out into the world to seek his fortune.
Title:Adventures of the Little Wooden Horse (Kingfisher Classics)
Authors:Ursula Moray Williams
Other authors:Paul Howard (Illustrator), Vivian French (Foreword)
Info:Kingfisher Books Ltd (2005), Paperback, 256 pages
Collections:A Few Great Read-Alouds for Older Kids

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Adventures of the Little Wooden Horse by Ursula Moray Williams (1938)


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English (5)  German (1)  Dutch (1)  All languages (7)
Showing 5 of 5
As an adult, I had to set aside my normal standards for fantasy (why is he animate, why can he talk, why can other toys and animals talk, why does human society consider this normal, how can he be faster/stronger than an actual horse, etc. etc. etc.), and assume that if it were read to me when I was a child, I'd have had no problem with it.

This is rather a harrowing book, more like Black Beautythan Raggedy Ann—this horse suffers, and suffers greatly. He is despondent for much of the book, tortured, or tortures himself. He's often rewarded for his efforts, but these rewards are usually short-lived. It was hard to take in a single sitting (I read it yesterday afternoon while supervising a lengthy kids' homework session).

But I rooted for the little wooden horse. I was invested. The author made me care. So I persisted through to the end (thank goodness, there's a happy ending, no Little Mermaid or Velveteen Rabbit trauma to endure). If I were to read it aloud, I'd do one chapter a night, with frequent reassurings of "don't worry, it'll all work out in the end," to sensitive children.

(Note: 5 stars = amazing, wonderful, 4 = very good book, 3 = decent read, 2 = disappointing, 1 = awful, just awful. I'm fairly good at picking for myself so end up with a lot of 4s). I feel a lot of readers automatically render any book they enjoy 5, but I grade on a curve! ( )
  ashleytylerjohn | Oct 13, 2020 |
My copy has no ISBN number anywhere, but this cover is associated with ISBN 0140366091
  biodiplomacy | Jun 7, 2017 |
The little wooden horse is made out of wood by Uncle Peder, who sells wooden toys to children for a living. When he made the wooden horse (whose name is not written in the book) he decided that it did look so nice with its blue stripes and red saddle that he would sell it for five shillings. But when the town folk came out to buy Uncle Peder's toys, none of them had five shiny shillings to pay. Also, the little wooden horse had been crying to stay by his master's side, and nobody wanted a crying little wooden horse.

The next market time, no children were in the streets at all. "Maybe they're at school," Uncle Peder suggested to the little wooden horse. But when he found ripped newspaper on the concrete, that really explained everything. A new toyshop (that sold horrible, cheap toys) had been opened, and now every child had wanted to go to there and not to Uncle Peder.

Without any children to sell toys to, the old carpenter began to lose money. He sold his coat; even his shoes; his jacket and everything that he could; but soon that money died away, too. Now, without any clothes to go on his thin layers (it was winter at the time), Uncle Peder got ill with a fever and he was nearly as poor as any man could be.

When the old man fell asleep in a barn, the little wooden horse set out to earn a few more coins and come back in the morning. But while he was gone, the owner of a barn - a kind-hearted lady, though who often lost her temper - came and took Uncle Peder in. He had a serious fever. Yet when the horse came back, he was threatened to be chopped into firewood by the lady, as he annoyed her by battering on her door, and the little wooden horse ran away, as frightened as ever he had been.

Learn more about the little horsey and his master by reading the book 'The Adventures of the Little Wooden Horse'.

I thought that this book was particularly long for me, and I am not the best fan of long books; but I think that for people who do, this would be quite a good book. I think it might be all and well 'true' for the story, but I have to say, the little wooden horse has a bit TOO many adventures ;)

Good book, good plot, but not the sort of story for me. I think it well-written, and aimed for about 7-10-year-olds. ( )
  LaviniaRossetti | Sep 6, 2016 |
Old children’s stories tend to veer toward the sappy so I was very worried about reading this one. No worries. Williams never even ventured into that territory; instead, she created the character of the little wooden horse so real yet so gently brave and daringly courageous that I would put him up on my list of Favorite Book Characters. I must obtain a copy of this book for my library. A 1001 CBYMRBYGU. ( )
  debnance | Jun 27, 2014 |
Originally published in 1938, this sentimental toy-fantasy follows the story of a little wooden horse (no other name is given), who wants nothing more than to stay with his beloved creator - Uncle Peder the toy-maker. But when Uncle Peder falls on hard times, eventually becoming sick, the little wooden horse finds himself cast out into the wide world, encountering both cruelty and kindness from the people he meets...

Although this book is a bit sentimental for some modern readers (myself included), as Vivian French notes in her foreword to the Kingfisher Modern Classics edition, the episodic structure of the story and the plucky nature of the hero make it a good bedtime selection for the younger set. With the exception of a few outdated ideas about class (compare the portrayal of the "working class" mine horses to that of the "aristocratic" horses who pull the king's carriage), this children's adventure story has weathered the passage of time quite well. ( )
1 vote AbigailAdams26 | Jun 27, 2013 |
Showing 5 of 5
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» Add other authors (3 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Ursula Moray Williamsprimary authorall editionscalculated
Fortnum, PeggyIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
French, VivianForewordsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Howard, PaulIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed

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To Conrad Southey John
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One day Uncle Peder made a little wooden horse.
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When the toymaker falls on hard times, his little wooden horse must go out into the world to seek his fortune.

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