We have been reading Aboriginal Literature with our reading group each week. This beautiful book by Richard VanCamp and illustrated by George Littlechild allowed us to learn more about horses while also learning about VanCamp’s Dogrib Nation.
Author Richard VanCamp’s hometown is Fort Smith in the Northwest Territories of Canada. On a cold (forty below!) winter day he decides to ask people he knows What’s the Most Beautiful Thing you Know about Horses? He, himself, doesn’t know much he explains because he is a stranger to horses; his people are not horse people. The people of the Dogrib nation have a great respect for dogs. In this northern land, dogs helped with hunting, protected the food stashes and helped with hauling camp from place to place. But yet in Dogrib the word for horse is big dog. When did dogs grow into horses? When did horses shrink into dogs? he asks.
Oh, the things he learns when he asks: “Horses always find their way home,” his Dad tells him. George Littlechild, who did the amazing illustrations for this book shares, “They stare at you as they breathe. Their soul comes right out.”
We shared some things we know too:
- They go in running races
- They are sometimes used in war
- They are useful
- They are calm and swish their tails
- We can see them at the P.N.E.
- They are in the Chinese Zodiac. Horse people care about their families.
What’s the Most Beautiful thing you Know about Horses?