Wednesday, November 21, 2018

Review of "Per and the Dala Horse," by Rebecca Hickox

Review of
Per and the Dala Horse, by Rebecca Hickox, ISBN 0385320752

Five out of five stars
 This story is an element of the genre of children receiving items from their deceased father where the best one appears at first to be the least. It opens with a farmer dying and willing different things to his three sons. Nils, the eldest, receives the farm and the powerful workhorse, the middle child Erik gets the fine riding horse and the boy Per receives a small, carved wooden horse that is beautifully painted. It is said that the wooden horse was given to the father by a spirit of the forest.
 To the practical Nils and Erik, the little wooden horse is of little value. Yet, when trolls steal the gold communion cup from the local church, there is an uproar and a reward for the return is offered. Nils and Erik both take a turn in trying to retrieve the cup, only to be bested by the trolls. Finally, Per invokes the magic of his wooden horse and is able to retrieve the cup and claim the reward. With it, he purchases a small farm that he expands into significant holdings. At the end, he leaves the wooden horse to his youngest son.
 The source notes are an excellent supplement to the story, giving the backdrop of the Dala horses that have been hand carved in Sweden for over 150 years. The author combines that craft with a Swedish legend called “Retrieving the Cup” to create a delightful story about the power of gifts and the foolishness of judging them too soon.

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