When I first opened my copy of The Adventures of Faithful Horse Helen, I instantly pictured a devoted grandparent reading it to their grandchild – the child sitting up nicely in freshly pressed pyjamas, with a glass of warm milk on the bedside table. The quality cover and the hand-drawn illustrations are quite delightful, which gives the feeling that this book could become an old family favourite.
The book comprises of a series of short stories, each about ‘Faithful Horse Helen’ – a horse with a yellow and blue quiff that would stand upright if someone was in trouble. Faithful Horse Helen is the protector of the region called Joy Mountain, where the stories are set. Faithful Horse Helen is the typical old fashioned hero – who comes to the rescue and then disappears in a flash – wanting no reward or accolade.
The book is based on the stories the author, known affectionately as Uncle Buzz, told his children as they were growing up. If your child also enjoys a song before bed, there is a song about Faithful Horse Helen that can be downloaded from Uncle Buzz’s website, which was composed and performed by Uncle Buzz’s son.
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Each story is only a few pages in length; making each the perfect length for a short bedtime story.
The stories did not hold the attention of my four-year-old (although to be fair, I don’t think anything that does not include a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle or Star Wars light sabre battle would meet his standards).
However, my six-year-old son did enjoy it, and wanted to know what happens next (the last story ends on a cliff hanger –this book is the introduction to a book series).
The stories are a pleasant read, and in my opinion probably best suited for children aged six to eight.