Horse Sense

by Tillen Bruce,
64 pages,
ISBN: 1895449510

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First Novels - Dentistry for Primates
by Eva Tihanyi

Tilden Bruce's Horse Sense (Thistledown, 64 pages, $7.50 paper) is a novella-length fable. It is set in the fictional prairie village of St. Martin, a place still divided by the feud of its two founding fathers, Augustus Valéry and Flammonde St. Martin. These two friends had gone west to seek a land of space and freedom, but when they found the place where they wanted to settle, trouble flared. Flammonde wanted to name the village after a saint, but Augustus would have none of it. When a coin toss didn't solve the problem, a vicious physical fight ensued, and the Valérys and St. Martins have hated one another ever since.

When the book opens, it is the Christmas season, and Ambroise Valéry, the most imaginative person in the village, has decided to make a rocking-horse for one of the Valéry children. But once news spreads of his plan, all the children in the village want one too. How the rocking-horse becomes the catalyst for ending the long-standing village feud forms the heart of the story-a story which, like all successful fables, teaches without pedantry.


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