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Reviewed by Emily-Jane Hills Orford for Readers' Favorite
Harry was a sleek, beautiful horse. He loved playing with his horse friends in Horseville. Hank was his best friend, but Harry was worried that Hank was not being honest. You see, Hank “loved horsing around” (no pun intended). So much so, that sometimes Hank hurt others. Like the elderly horse couple: Hank would steal their hay so they had nothing to eat and knock over their water trough so they had nothing to drink. Then he lied and claimed he didn’t know what happened. He defended his actions to Harry by saying repeatedly, “It’s all just a game, Harry. It’s all just for fun. How boring life would be if we're all honest!” Although Harry never took part in Hank’s games, he never stopped him either. Harry’s conscience took over and he came clean; first to his father, then to the elderly horse couple, and finally to Hank.
K.A. Mulenga’s picture book story, Harry the Honest Horse, is a clever and insightful way to teach young readers the importance of being honest. Hank is a bit of a bully, while Harry is concerned about standing up for what is right. The plot follows Harry as he trails after Hank, a silent bystander observing his friend’s actions. When Harry finally stands up for what he believes is right, young readers will definitely be cheering him on. Beautifully illustrated, this is an easy-to-read book that will appeal to youngsters. Harry has some difficult decisions to make and young readers will relate. Harry wants to keep his friend, Hank, but he also wants to be honest. Even though Hank believes he’s merely joking around, Harry knows the joking around is going too far. It takes a strong person (or horse) to stand up for what is right. A powerful message, simply told.