Welcome to the November 5th review stop on the blog tour for Big Wishes for Little Feat by Cheryl Olsten, organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. Be sure to follow the rest of the tour for 8 more reviews and a giveaway! (More on that at the end of this post.)
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About the Book
Big Wishes for Little Feat
by Cheryl Olsten
Illustrated by Paolo d’Altan
Published 6 OCtober 2020
by Fleecydale Press
Genre: Children’s Fiction
Page Count: 56
Add it to your Goodreads TBR!
When Ella and Little Feat are brought together, their devotion to each other grows. Their awe and love of the night sky with sparkling stars and constellations takes them on a journey that will change their lives forever. Big Wishes for Little Feat is a wonderful tale that will ignite the imagination with its rich, colorful illustrations by award-winning Italian illustrator Paolo d’Altan. Central to the book’s charm is the imagery of stars and constellations to which a little girl and her horse both look for inspiration, confidence, and faith in themselves, as they learn how to turn disappointments into achievements. A quirky aunt adds to the fun of this tale of happy endings and new beginnings. For young girls who love animals with a special fondness for the magic of horses.
On the other side of the world lived a little girl named Ella. She wore her hair in a long French braid that fell to the middle of her back. Her eyes were as blue as the midnight sky. She knew a lot about constellations. On summer and winter nights, she and her father would lie in their backyard, looking up at the patterns the stars made.
“Ella,” her father would ask, a twinkle in his voice, “what pattern do you see tonight?”
“I see a horse, a winged horse! Do you?”
“Well, yes I do,” said her father. “That’s Pegasus, the winged horse. He’s one of the largest constellations in the sky.”
“He’s so beautiful,” said Ella. “I would love to have a horse like that—a horse who can carry me to the stars!”
“Maybe one day your wish will come true, Ella, my beloved, brilliant étoile,” said her father in French. “Brilliant means bright, and you pronounce it bree-yant. Étoile means star, and you pronounce it eh-twal. You are my bright star.”
“Your beloved, brilliant étoile,” she softly repeated.
My Rating: 4 Stars
I received an eARC of Big Wishes for Little Feat from the publisher in exchange for an honest review via NetGalley. Thank you to all involved for this opportunity.
Big Wishes for Little Feat is a beautifully illustrated children’s book that is on the cusp between preschool/kindergarten and middle grade. It tells the story of two lonely young souls, one a horse in Belgium and the other a girl in the USA, and how their paths eventually cross.
I enjoyed the artwork throughout this book and as a horse lover I really liked the horse’s point of view. I wish little girl Emma’s story had been blended into the narrative more, perhaps presented in alternating sections with the horse, rather than having the abrupt switch from horse POV to human POV part way through the story.
I love the “good things come to those who wait” sort of message this story is trying to tell, and I do think the horse’s part of the story fulfils that promise. I don’t think we needed to know as much as we did about Emma, particularly in this format of halving the story between POVs. Perhaps Emma’s backstory would have felt less unnecessary if, as mentioned above, it had been introduced earlier and alternated with the horse.
The title Big Wishes for Little Feat is a little awkward, as it isn’t clear who Little Feat is (or whether that was meant to be Feet – it wasn’t) until quite late in the story. For most of the story we know the horse as Lafitte, so perhaps Big Wishes for Lafitte might have been better.
I also felt like this story ended abruptly, and that all of Emma’s backstory was leading us further into the story than we got. If this is intended to be the first in a series of stories about these characters, then it’s a great start. If it’s meant to be a stand-alone, then it needed to end either shortly after horse and girl find eachother, or slightly farther along than where we left off, when they’re well bonded and at peace with their new lives.
Overall this is a very cute story, and I’m sure in a couple of years when this is my horse-loving toddler’s reading level she would love to own a copy. My initial thought was to rate this 3.5 because the narrative itself is a little more flawed than I like to see in a 4, but the illustrations are so captivating that I think I’ll bump it up to a 4 anyway.
About the Author
Cheryl Olsten was formerly the publisher of two New Jersey Magazines, New Jersey Life and New Jersey Life Health and Beauty. She resides in Pennsylvania with her husband, while their grown children are living their happy lives on different parts of the globe.
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