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by T.L. McBeth ; illustrated by T.L. McBeth

Pub Date: Aug. 4th, 2020
ISBN: 978-1-250-18590-7
Publisher: Godwin Books/Henry Holt

A vaguely horse-shaped drawing goes on a vague, drawn-out journey.

Randy is a blobby, beige quadruped with wide, staring eyes and a cheerful crayon grin. Centered on a blank white page, he proclaims immediately upon his creation that he is beautiful and loved by all and that his given name must be “reserved only for the most special of creatures.” A disembodied speech-bubble conversation between the young artist and their mother extolls Randy’s skills and preferred activities, and Randy replies with varying degrees of narcissism and sarcasm, unheard by the child in the book but potentially enjoyed by a child reading it. A lunch break results in the white void Randy occupies being interrupted with photographed drops of what appear to be peanut butter and strawberry jam, leading into an “adventure” through construction-paper obstacles, popsicle-stick forests, and a run-in with the book’s gutter. The journey ends anticlimactically at a pool of water, wherein Randy discovers his reflection, which reveals him to be without long, elegant legs, a gorgeous mane, or glossy coat. After the brief existential crisis this triggers, the child’s proclamation that “I love Randy, my beautiful horse,” soothes Randy into acceptance of his appearance. Endpapers feature an “in-depth and comprehensive guide” for how to draw a horse, featuring a Victorian illustration as the final step (scribbled out on the rear endpapers).

A self-image story about as three-dimensional as its title character.

(Picture book. 4-6)