A Farmington author and illustrator, both of whom have been crazy for horses for years, have created a children's book with the help of Durango photographer Christopher Marona. Marona took pictures for them and taught them about printing.Author Camille Matthews and illustrator Michelle Black plan for Quincy Finds a New Home to be the first of a series. It would be possible to describe the plot - insecure horse finds wisdom through the counsel of a horse mentor - to make it sound gooey and saccharine.
And that is the plot, but the simplicity with which it is told make it moving and avoids the cringe. The book is meant for 4- to 8-year-olds, suitable for both bedtime stories and independent reading.
The story is told from Quincy the horse's point of view. It starts with his bewilderment when he's sold to a new owner, an emotion likely to touch children with an empathy for animals, which must be most of them.
Once Quincy settles in to his new barn, he notices the other horses go to shows, jump and win ribbons. Quincy has no idea how to do that.
But his mentor horse, Beau, a veritable horsey Gandalf, if lacking the magic, tells him he needn't worry.
"You do not need to jump jumps or win ribbons. She (Quincy's owner) just wants a good horse to ride and love and be her friend," Beau tells Quincy.
What better message for a bedtime story?
The oil paintings on which Matthews bases her illustrations are pleasingly simple too. Children will be able to bond with Quincy without distraction.
It's a deft trick to incorporate life lessons within a story without letting the seams show or putting off the children. And Matthews and Black have pulled it off.