Atmospheric, haunting, and deeply moving. This is a story perfect for chilly evenings in the sad heart of winter.
Children and adults alike will be swept up in Emmaline's imagination as she undertakes the impossible task to save a winged horse from its foe. Are the winged horses that Emmaline sees only in her imagination, or do others at the hospital see them? Rich in metaphor, Sheperd's debut middle grade novel sets the bleakness of Emmaline's situation against the ultimately comforting world of her horses, and shows the power of the human will to survive in the most dire circumstances. Recommended for ages 10+.
Fans of The War that Saved My Life should definitely give this a try! This is a sweet, beautifully written story about finding magic and hope even in the darkest of times.
This slim volume, set in a children's hospital during WWII, has a timeless feeling about it (caused in part by the period setting, but in greater part because of the children's isolation from the outside world, I think) that is reminiscent of classics of the children's canon like Burnett's 'The Secret Garden'. Shepherd is a bit heavy-handed with her metaphors, but I think that, to a child, this book would really resonate and have great emotional depth (and, indeed, it successfully managed to make this adult reader cry). If the novel lacks subtlety, it makes up for it with real emotion and the skillful use of an unreliable narrator. Best of all, it has a thoroughly ambiguous ending, making this a great conversation starter for young readers.
A beautifully crafted book written for a younger set. Through out the book there are illustrations that are gorgeous and enhance the story telling. The wording helps in creating a very strong visual picture. A sick girl sees horses in mirrors. Of course no one believes her, but she is determined to take care of one that ends up injured in her world. Although set during WW2, it's not boringly historical. Instead it uses the war as the backdrop to the situations Emmaline finds herself in. There is a steady climax that increases the tension in protecting the horses. Despite the clear conclusion its still left up to the reader to decide if the horses were real or not, but that just adds to the mysteriousness of it all. I delighted in the imagination yet reality the girl was ensnared in. The earnestness of her character made her quite likeable. The supporting characters growing in depth as the story progressed. The symbolism was a bit heavy throughout regarding mirrors. I still loved the end lesson: look a little harder.
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