Perfect Picture Book Friday – Running with the Horses

Happy Friday, everyone! It’s time for the first Perfect Picture Book review and craft activity of 2015.

I’m going to be participating in Kristen Fulton’s 52 Weeks of Charting Non-Fiction Picture Books, so I can guarantee that quite a few of the reviews this year will be non-fiction ones. I discovered the ‘new’ non-fiction picture books when I enrolled in Kristen’s Non-Fiction Archaeology course last June…for those of you who have ever thought about writing in that genre, I urge you to check out her stellar class.

Before I took the class, my idea of a non-fiction book was based on what I had read as a kid. Back in the day, most non-fiction books, even those for kids, were BORING. But not anymore! And there are many different types of non-fiction…kids might not care, but parents, teachers and librarians might want to make the distinction.

For more detailed information, you can go here:

running with horses


Written and illustrated by Alison Lester

Publisher: NorthSouth (2011)

Ages: 5 and up

Themes: Conquering fears, Lipizzaner horses, war


Opening Lines:

“A long time ago, a young girl named Nina lived in a palace that stood in the heart of a graceful old city. The palace was home to the Roayl Academy of Dancing Horss, where Nina’s father, Viktor, was the stable master.”


From Amazon: “Nina and her father live in a beautiful riding school famous for their Lippizaners–precious, rare performing horses.  Nina loves the horses that her father looks after, but she also loves Zelda, one of the old carriage horses who she sneaks out to see.  It’s a perfect world for a little girl, although she has to compete with her father’s work for his attention.  But a war is coming, one that will threaten their lives and the very existence of the school. 

When the city is under attack, Nina and Father are in charge of fleeing with the horses to a safe place across the border, but can they pass enemy soldiers, bombed out bridges and the fearsome cold of the Alps to get there?  And can Nina save her beloved Zelda, too?”



Why I like this book:

A fictional story that relays what actually happened and shows how important it is to stand up for what you believe in

  • Wonderful illustrations that capture the turmoil and fear of those who have to flee a city under siege

How a parent can use this book:

  • For younger children, you can summarize each page – reading the illustration…older children will appreciate the tension of the actual text
  • Ask your children what they would save if they had to leave quickly



Related Activity:



Photo courtesy: Leanne Guenther


This is a great craft for young kids…they will be learning about ovals, rectangles, circles and squares while having lots of fun.

All you need are construction paper, scissors, and a glue stick – for easy-peasy instructions, go to:

I hope you enjoyed today’s Perfect Picture Book recommendation and craft…remember – click this link: and grab the free Anti-Bullying Toolkit Guide for Kids. You’ll also get the first issue of my quarterly newsletter (with picture book recommendations, quick and easy craft projects and simple healthful child-friendly recipes plus tips for parents and teachers)…it is scheduled to be delivered to inboxes tomorrow.

About viviankirkfield

Writer for children - Reader forever Mom of 3, educator, author of FOUR OTTERS TOBOGGAN: AN ANIMAL COUNTING BOOK (Pomegranate Press, 2019), PIPPA'S PASSOVER PLATE (Holiday House, 2019), FROM HERE TO THERE: INVENTIONS THAT CHANGED THE WAY WE MOVE (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2019), SWEET DREAMS, SARAH (Creston Books, 2019), picture book junkie, lover of travel, hiking, fly-fishing, cooking, and playing Monopoly with my 9-year old grandson.

Posted on January 2, 2015, in 12x12 Picture Book Challenge, Crafting with Kids, Dancing Lipizzaner Horses, Perfect Picture Book Friday and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 11 Comments.

  1. Well, you had me at horses, Vivian 🙂 This sounds wonderful! I want to read it right now and see if Zelda makes it okay 🙂 Happy New Year!!! 🙂


    • Thanks so much. If you can believe it, I’m writing this on my new tablet that I won in Donna McDine’s giveaway! It’s the first time I expect wrote with one!😁 You will love the book! Happy New year dear friend!


  2. Oh Wow! Those Lipazzaners are really fabulous! What a great book! Thanks for sharing this one.


  3. I love Lipizzaner horses, so this would be a favorite. Great activity for kids. Our great granddaughter (8 yrs) is into riding now. She reads everything about horses now. She would enjoy this.


    • Oh yes, Pat…she would definitely love this book. I was touched by the lovely illustrations…simple yet so poignant. Good for her that she is riding…but how do you have a great-granddaughter, Pat…you are far too young!!!! You must have been a child bride. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  4. I am so honored by this post.


    • Well, it’s a mutual admiration society for sure, Kristen…I’m honored you came by to read it and comment. I know how crazy busy you are…planning the WOW retreat AND WOW week AND MINI-WOW…plus working on your own stories/revisions AND helping so many others with their stories AND teaching. Did I say WOW?

      This year I’ll be reviewing each of the 52 books you will be delving into…maybe by the end of the year, I’ll be able to write one myself that is worthy of being on someone’s shelf. 😉

      Kristen, I love the passion you have for non fiction…and your 52 Weeks of Charting Non Fiction Picture Books is the perfect incentive for me to keep myself immersed in it. I even mentioned your Sunday blog series during the School Library Journal webinar the other day…they interviewed the authors of the top five non fiction YA books – and my tweet was picked up and re-tweeted by the SLJ librarian WITH your blog url. 😉


  5. Think about buying a new high definition television when you go to purchase a new gaming system.
    * Avoid the temptation to offer your opinion or advice.
    While many do have an ESRB rating, many also carry
    a warning about how situations in the game can change to
    something that doesn’t fall within that rating.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

Polilla Writes

reading, writing, celebrating the written word

National Day Calendar

Fun, unusual and forgotten designations on our calendar.

Michelle Eastman Books

Kid Lit Author and Advocate


about reading, writing & thinking children's books

Laura Boffa: Write of Way

Giving the way of writing the right of way


A Gallery of New Picture Book Talent

EMU's Debuts

From Deal to Debut: the Path to Publication

Wander, Ponder, Write

A KidLit Journey...

Picture Book House

reviews and stories about parenting with picture books

Pernille Ripp

Teacher. Author. Creator. Speaker. Mom.

Norah Colvin

Live Love Laugh Learn . . . Create the possibilities

Gathering Books

Singapore | United States of America | Philippines

Beth Anderson, Children's Writer

Reader, Writer, Miner of Moments

Susanna Leonard Hill

Children's Author

The Stinky Backpack

Traveling the Everyday World

The Runaway Palate

Food. Travel. Cooking. Random musings. Maybe some historical stuff.

The Reader and the Book

"O Day of days when we can read! The reader and the book, either without the other is naught." Ralph Waldo Emerson


Authors & Illustrators Wild About Kidlit!

One Good Thing

Teresa Robeson's 365-Day project

Tracy Campbell

Heart for Ewe Publishing

kidsbook friends

Check out this blog about children's books!

Mary Jo Beswick

Artist - Children's Book Author & Illustrator - Teacher

Leslie Leibhardt Goodman

Children's Writer


READING: like dancing in your brain

Friendly Fairy Tales

Fairy Tales and Poetry Celebrating Magic and Nature for Kids of all Ages

Lauri Fortino's Frog On A (B)log

Sharing and Celebrating Picture Books Since 2009

Stacy S. Jensen

Reader | Writer | List Maker

Reading With Rhythm

book reviews from Rhythm the Library Dog

Nerdy Book Club

A community of readers

Nerdy Chicks Write

Get it Write this Summer!

Laura Sassi Tales

Celebrating writing, reading, and life.

Erika Wassall here... The Jersey Farm Scribe

Author, Freelance Writer, Entreprenur... LIVER of life

Angie Karcher

Writing Children's Books

Chapter Book Chat

A Writer Reviews Chapter Books, by Marty Mokler Banks

The Blabbermouth Blog

Literary Agent Linda Epstein's Yakkety Yakking

The Waiting

Turns out, it's not the hardest part.

%d bloggers like this: