This children’s book is a follow-up to Horse of a Different Colour, and follows the adventures of Megan, Amy, and their fiends and enemies as they encounter more strange magic, ‘swaps’, and discover another foul scheme by the loathsome O’Neill. The story begins with an unexpected encounter between Megan and Jack, the horse with which she was able to ‘swap’ places in the first book. This happens without her expecting it and places her in an initial quandary.
From this start, we slowly meet a whole panoply of new creatures with the power to swap with others, perform many magical activities, and show their concern and loyalty to other living creatures.
The book is an adventure, a fantasy, and a parable all rolled into a hugely entertaining package that children will enjoy and parents will be happy to read to their younger ones. Melodie Trudeaux has managed to enter the strange minds of the younger generations, either through observation or a vivid memory, or perhaps a combination of these, to present their often fragmented and nonsequential manner of addressing each other. Parents and teachers will understand what I mean. Children of a certain age have a habit of talking in non sequiturs, employing the kangaroo mind, and assuming their listeners know exactly what they mean. The author captures this perfectly and with some resulting humour, both intended and unintended by the perpetrators.
The adults in the book are as well drawn as the children, and, somehow, Melodie has entered the strange worlds of the creatures, including spiders, insects, and plants, to convey their attitudes and perceptions of human activity.
There is adventure here, mistakes leading to disasters, humour, misunderstandings leading to injustice, and tensions rising as an event of environmental catastrophe develops. And the protagonists lead us through this complex maze of events with that childlike mix of wonder, selective care, disbelief, and confidence we seem to lose as we grow older.
The reader encounters monster plants with minds of their own, interactive invertebrates, and the inevitable horse of the title.
It’s a fun read children will understand and enjoy enormously. And there’s a short but timely and essential postscript that rounds off the story masterfully.
[Any review is a personal opinion. No reviewer can represent the view of anyone else. The best we can manage is an honest reaction to any given book.]