Tony by Ed Galing, illustrated by Erin E. Stead (9781626723085)
Tony was a big white horse who pulled the milk wagon for Tom every morning. Tony pulled the wagon full of eggs, butter and milk. When Tom stopped to make a delivery, Tony would wait patiently. One child, the narrator, would go outside and greet Tony every morning when they pulled up, giving Tony a hug and a pat. Tom greeted the child too, saying that Tony looked forward every morning to the greeting. Then they went on with their route, and Tony had a little dance in his step in farewell.
This poem by the late Galing makes a wonderful picture book filled with spare language and power. The book walks forward with the solidity of a large horse, the delicacy of breakable eggs, and the spirit of dancing footsteps. It is entirely lovely, creating a sliver of time where horses were used for deliveries and children could greet them eagerly if they were willing to wake early enough.
Stead’s illustrations are exceptionally lovely. Her fine lines bring memories to life. The dreamy nature of the illustrations help us look back in time. She floods some pages with a bright yellow light, welcoming and warm. Others echo the mist of early morning and the quietness.
A lovely poetic picture book that slows you down to another time and place. Appropriate for ages 4-6.
Reviewed from copy received from Roaring Brook Press.