Written by Russell Hoban
Illustrated by Quentin Blake
An ice-pop stick thinks there is more for him than to be thrown away. And he is right. A girl named Rosie picks him up and adds him to her ice-pop stick collection. The old sticks feel like there is nothing left for them but to live in Rosie’s old cigar box. But the new stick dares them to dream, to try something different. “What,” they challenge him. Be a horse is the first thing the stick thinks of. Meanwhile, back at Rosie’s house, her parents are worried about paying their bills and that makes Rosie worry, too. She fashions her sticks into a horse shape and, at the stroke of midnight, the horse comes alive. She asks the horse to help her get some treasure. They ride off on an adventure that involves a mountain of ice-pops and pirates. After a harrowing (and delicious) escape, Rosie brings home a chest of gold to help Mum and Dad pays the bills. And the sticks take a well-deserved nap.
Well-known collaborators Russell Hoban, author, and Quentin Blake, illustrator, successfully team up again with this unique picture book. There are so many metaphors that this is one of those picture books that could be used with older students to teach literary devices. The pen and watercolor illustrations are filled with Blake’s trademark humor. The text could be adapted to a skit or reader’s theatre as a literacy activity, but the illustrations make it an ideal class read aloud. This seems to be Hoban’s last book because he died in 2011, making Rosie’s Magic Horse even more a treasure.