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Reviewed by Emily-Jane Hills Orford for Readers' Favorite
Nawaab: Marwari Stallion of India by Gina McKnight is a story about Prince Aryaman and his beloved Marwari horses, especially the young black stallion, Nawaab, with a white star on his forehead. When an earthquake shakes the kingdom and the palace disintegrates, the prince sets the horses free so they can escape the crumbling royal stables. The prince is heartbroken to lose his precious horses. He searches everywhere and finally finds and reclaims Nawaab. But Nawaab is also sad because he misses his mother. He escapes again to search for his mother and finds her near another palace, well cared for by a lovely princess. When the prince finds Nawaab again, he is attracted to the lovely princess. His love of horses has brought him to another kind of love, but that’s a story for another time.
Gina McKnight’s picture book story, Nawaab: Marwari Stallion of India, is a fascinating fable set in early nineteenth-century India. The Marwari, also known as the Malani, is a rare breed of horse from northwest India. This story honors a noble breed that has enriched the history of the area for centuries. It’s a charming story about a special bond that often exists between humans and their horses. The plot follows the tragedy of the earthquake, the separation of Prince Aryaman from his horses, their reconnection, and the possibility of another kind of love. With beautiful, brightly colored, classic Indian illustrations, this story is a treasure to be cherished and enjoyed multiple times. The story reads like a fairytale; it’s full of romance, hope, and love. The language is simple and will appeal to readers of all ages. Beautifully told and presented.