In this enchanting little tale, a lonely old donkey lives alone in a big red barn, with only a radio (and a diminutive mouse) to keep him company. It’s not a bad life: he has hay, shelter, and a down blanket to wear in the winter. But as spring arrives, and the creek roars, robins sing, and grass turns green, he emerges, and clops down the road to a grove of aspen trees.
His outing leads him to new friends: five furry horses, three dogs, and a person who offers a slice of apple. The little donkey is no longer lonesome: “He doesn’t need his radio anymore.”
The story and illustrations are sure to delight young readers, who will find lots of creatures to ogle on every page, including sandhill cranes, a fox, a rabbit, deer, robins, bluebirds, and the furry horses and dogs. It’s also a good reminder that patience and curiosity can yield rich rewards.
Anne Trygstad, who lives near Bozeman, describes herself as “a friend of Banjo,” who studied Scandinavian literature and Old Norse and medieval runic inscriptions. She raises and rides Icelandic horses (hence the tale’s shaggy horses).
Calligrapher Emily Copeland is a librarian at the middle school in Manhattan, MT, and illustrator Margie Burke resides in San Francisco.
– Kristi Niemeyer
Published 2014 by Red Berry Editions, Kensington, CA, $25 hardcover