- Bramble and Maggie: Give and Take by Jessie Haas
After finding a new home with Maggie (in Bramble and Maggie, BCCB 6/12), Bramble is now settling in nicely and teaching Maggie the importance of partnership (“Neither of them should be boss all the time. There should be some giveand- take”). In this easy reader’s short chapters, Bramble gets bored when Maggie goes off to school, enjoys her first visit to an ocean beach, and finds a buddy in a neighbor’s chicken, who’d rather live in the barn with Bramble. More focused on Bramble than the first title, this is really an early horse book, with Bramble’s quirky and authentically equine point of view permeating the story; Haas’ short, accessible sentences (“Bramble sneaked up. She blew her breath under the hen’s feathers”) are an inviting and achievable success for readers just moving beyond formal beginner series. Friend’s gouache illustrations combine soft, sunny realism with a touch of bulbous cartooniness in Bramble herself, whose wide-eyed expression always seems to be questioning the world. Horse lovers who’ve moved past Bang-Campell’s Little Rat Rides (BCCB 4/04) will enjoy Bramble and Maggie’s company.