By Author / Illustrator
Ruth Doyle, Alexandra Finkeldey
Nosy Crow Ltd
Paperback / softback
"When I'm afraid, I breathe in and out and let the feelings come . . . and then go. Nothing lasts forever."
Now the Horse enjoys the singing of the birds, the chattering of the crickets and all the wonders of nature. But Rabbit fears being chased by a fox, and Hen thinks a swooping magpie will catch her chicks... When a thunderstorm arrives, Now leads her friends to shelter - where they soon discover that not everything is as frightening as it seems.
A calm and reassuring story about overcoming worries and living in the present moment with beautiful artwork from Alexandra Finkeldey. Find out more in our Q&A with author Ruth Doyle and illustrator Alexandra Finkeldey.
Now is the name of the gorgeous white horse who grazes in the picturesque field. Now is on hand to support their animal friends who seek comfort. The rabbits are fearful of the foxes, Hen is frightened of the magpies and the lambs fear the farmer's new dog. Each time they rush to Now with their concerns, Now explains that perhaps what they are worrying about is not going to happen. Perhaps, Fox won't sneak up on the rabbits. Maybe, Dog doesn't have claws like saws. It "might not happen".
I'm very fond of A Horse Called Now and we've sat as three generations to enjoy this one - Nanny, Mummy and 2-year-old Wendy. We all took away something different from this story. That's the wonderful thing about such a well-written book - our own perceptions come into play. Little Wendy adores Alexandra's Illustrations of the animals. There is so much texture to admire. The things in nature that we might commonly overlook have been given deep thought. For example, the grassy field with its long strands of grass and hidden wildflowers.
For me, this story highlights the value we sometimes forget to place on living in the moment. Now isn't worried about what could be, but instead focuses on what is. We might find ourselves worrying about what might happen and Now reminds us that we should live in the present and appreciate the moments we have in front of us.
For Nanny, this book was immediately adored due to her love of horses! Her favourite part was when all the animals went for cover from the storm in the barn, where they came face to face with their worries. They learn not to judge a book by its cover as they realise there is nothing to fear at all.
What makes this story even more special is that it's inspired by the author's own horse, Winnie, who helps her owner to feel calm and happy. I invite you to read this story to help you find your moment of calm.
Picture book / Reviewed by Jessica Bunney, teacher
Suggested Reading Age 3+
A Horse Called Now is a sensitively written picture book which will appeal to adults and children alike. It will instigate conversations about different worries that people may have, in a safe and comforting way. "When I'm afraid, I breathe in and out and let the feelings come . . . and then go. Nothing lasts forever."
Now, the Horse, enjoys the singing of the birds, the chattering of the crickets and all the wonders of nature. But Rabbit fears being chased by a fox, and Hen thinks a swooping magpie will catch her chicks. When a thunderstorm arrives, Now leads her friends to shelter . . . where they soon discover that not everything is as frightening as it seems.
A Horse Called Now is a story about overcoming worries and living in the present. Mental health is a huge topic at the moment and it is so important for children to understand from a young age. This starts with the understanding that it is OK not to be OK; it is 'normal' to be worried by things and it is good to ask for help. A Horse Called Now helps children to understand this, and focuses on the importance of friendship and having others around you. This is sure to become a modern classic as it is an absolute pleasure to read.
Picture book / Reviewed by Amanda Shipton, teacher
Suggested Reading Age 5+
Now, the horse, is enjoying the peace of the field where she lives when she hears the hammering heartbeats of frightened animals. First, Rabbit and her babies are scared about Fox, then Hen and her chicks arrive, full of fears about Magpie and next Sheep and her lambs appear, terrified of a new sheepdog. Now calmly listens to their fears, reassuring them that these things might not happen and encouraging them to enjoy the moment. When a storm blows in, they find shelter in the barn, only to be faced with the animals they were running from. But, perhaps, everything is not as frightening as it first seemed…
Gentle and reassuring, A Horse Called Now encourages readers to overcome their worries and enjoy the present moment. As each group of animals arrive, Now calmly listens to their concerns with no judgement, before offering simple, comforting advice and suggesting something positive which they might do to help them enjoy the moment. Now shows them how breathing helps her to release feelings of fear, reminding them that nothing lasts forever.
The story is perfect for sharing, with adults and children able to practise breathing with Now and perhaps referring to it in difficult situations, encouraging children to look for something to enjoy in the moment rather than focusing on their fears. When faced with the creatures which had caused such anxiety, the rabbits, sheep and chickens find that once they get to know them, the fox, dog and magpie are not so frightening after all.
Each spread is beautifully illustrated with plenty to notice and enjoy and children are sure to comment on Now's name, making the link with her attitude to life! This lovely story is sure to become a firm favourite with adults and children alike.
Picture book / Reviewed by Sue Wilsher, teacher
Suggested Reading Age 3+