Evie's Corner: Literary Reviews by A Six-Year-Old Book Lover

My daughter is an avid reader, and so, in addition to my own running reading log, I occasionally enjoy interviewing her about a book she’s recently finished. The perspective of a six year old, and children of all ages, really, offer wonderful literary insight and profound understanding of the human (and animal) condition.

This week’s book is Maestroso Petra, by Jane Kendall.

Me: “Good morning, Evie. Thank you for offering your thoughts on your recent read of Maestoso Petra.”

Evie: “You’re welcome. I have thoughts. Do you want them?”

Me: “Yes, I absolutely do.”

Evie: “Well, the Lipizzaner stallions are amazing, and I didn’t know the American soldiers rescued them in the war. That was very kind, because animals have lives and feel pain, too.”

Me: “Had you heard of dancing horses before?”

Evie: “No, I haven’t. Jumping and racing horses, yes, but not dancing ones. I think we should have more dancing Lipizzaner horses in the United States.”

Me: “If you were to tell kids about this book, what you would you say?”

Evie: “I’d say that it’s a good book to learn about history and WWII and how terrible the bombings were—not just horses, but men and women and kids, too. And not just bombings, either. It’s sad that war like this happens, and that it can hurt living things. I don’t really understand it.”

Me: “Did you like that the story was told by one of the dancing horses himself?”

Evie: “It wasn’t very realistic, but I think more stories should be told by horses. They know a lot. And they have seen a lot of history, so I think it was good. It’s a good thing, too, that Petra told the story in English because horse language is very neigh-ey.”

Me: “Yes, it is a good thing indeed. I hear horse language can be tough to learn.”

Evie: “It is.”

Me: “And so do you plan to read other books about WWII?”

Evie: “I am interested, yes. A lot of Looney Tunes cartoons are about WWII, and those are very interesting to me. And The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe is, too—except it’s Lucy, Peter, Edmund, and Susan that the Nazis try to bomb in the beginning. But they get out. Just like the horses. But in different places. Those kids lived in London. And the horses in Austria. But yeah I think I would like to learn more about WWII. Even though I just don’t understand war. People should share more and not use bombs. It’s not hard. Kids at recess sometimes joke that we are going to have WWIII but with other people, not the Nazis, but I hope that’s not really true. There are too many trees and birds and snakes and horses to love. I think we all need to save the earth together.”

Me: “Yes, war is a very complex subject. Do you have any other thoughts about war, horses, or the book before we go and make breakfast?”

Evie: “No, think that’s it because I’m hungry for pancakes. But if kids are interested in WWII they should read about Petra, and also watch Looney Tunes, too. On Saturdays.”