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.

11 thoughts on “Perfect Picture Book Friday – Running with the Horses

    • 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!


    • 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

    • 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. 😉


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