It is wonderful to have junior novels that can tell a good story and also have some emotional depth and this is certainly true for Jerry by Ursula Dubosarsky.
Jerry is an old horse. He is loved by all the neighborhood children. His final paddock is in an urban environment and each day children and adults visit Jerry and give him carrots and other treats but perhaps no one loves Jerry as much as Martha.
Ursula Dubosarsky has based Jerry on a real horse that was living near a Sydney Primary School and I think this real life incident is what gives this book its strength and honesty. Jerry is old and neglected and no longer interested in being patted but we are not left to ponder this for long. Martha’s love of Jerry and her magical dreams for him to fly make a perfect balance as Jerry’s life inevitably comes to an end.
I must make special mention of the illustrations by Patricia Mullins. She explains on the last page how as a child she drew lots and lots of horses and you can certainly see her skill in every illustration. The picture on page 39 where we can only see the eye of Jerry is just beautiful. It is clear why one of my most treasured picture books by Patricia Mullins One Horse waiting for me is all about horses. Look for this in our school library and you will see the illustrations are amazing tissue paper collage. I have now realised I read Sea Breeze Hotel to a class just this week and Ice Flowers is a special favourite of mine both also illustrated by Patricia Mullins.
Jerry is certainly one to add to my list of excellent Aussie Nibbles. One more thing I need to say. I did not read horse books as a child. I am a dog person so I really want to say Jerry is a book for everyone not just the horse lovers.