Thursday, December 15

The Water Horse by Dick King-Smith

When Kirstie and her little brother Angus discover a strange egg, they take it home to see if it will hatch. What they discover is something extraordinary - a water horse.

With the help of their family, the two children name the water horse Crusoe and keep him. It isn't long until Crusoe is growing bigger and bigger and at more risk of being noticed.

Can they keep the water horse safe or will he be discovered?

I decided to purchase the audio book of this novel for the simple reason that it was narrated by Nathaniel Parker, who narrates the Artemis Fowl audio books. I'm glad that I did. Along with being well-performed by Parker, the writing of the novel is enchanting and makes for a very touching and intriguing tale.

The characters of the novel seemed to come alive from the start. Brought to life by Parker's narration - complete with wonderful Scottish accents - the family that takes in Crusoe is an interesting bunch. I loved how the grandfather of the two children was called Grumble because that was what he did all the time. At least he did until Crusoe came into their lives, whom he was quick to identify as the legendary Kelpie.

I have only really been aware of the "Kelpie" through works such as Fantastic Beasts & Where to Find Them, where it is said that the largest of them all can be found in Loch Ness. The idea of the Loch Ness Monster has always been somewhat intriguing to me but not much so. Dick King-Smith's story of Crusoe the water horse gives the legend so much more heart.

The novel is set in the early 1930s and is quite short in length but the story felt very whole. The audio book ran at only an hour and a half and I can see myself listening it to it again. The emotional connection with the beloved water horse was apparent throughout the story and a few times it showed snippets from Crusoe's perspective.

Seeing the span from the moment that the water horse is born, when it is so small and trusting, to the time when it must make its way in the depths of Loch Ness, The Water Horse is a moving tale, filled with humour and emotion, as well as suspense.

There is plenty of tension in the novel. Crusoe may have been a rapid grower but he was always at risk, whether of injury or exposure. Up until the last moments of the novel, I was in anticipation as to whether he would be discovered.

The Water Horse is a fantastic novel for both children and adults alike. It does not feel like a fantasy, since the events of the book seem so plausible after you experience them. It felt to me as though Dick King-Smith had revealed the true story behind the myth.

In accordance with the FTC, Quill Café would like to disclose that the reviewer purchased this book. The opinions expressed are hers alone and no monetary compensation was offered to her by the author or publisher. Cover art is copyright of Puffin and is used solely as an aide to the review.

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