The Runaway Flying Horse
by Paul Jacques Bonzon (translated by Susan Kotta) with illustrations by William Pène du Bois/ published 1976 by Parents' Magazine Press
Somewhere I read that this book was either written or translated from the French "Le Petit Cheval de Bois" (published in 1960) as a fundraiser for the merry-go-round in Watch Hill, Rhode Island.... the oldest such contraption in America. I, for one, am a sucker for carousels... but really, who isn't? Ours here in San Antonio isn't as historic, but it is still pretty crusty and cool. Sadly, my son's most memorable romp on an "up-and-down" was his first ~ inside of a mall in Indiana where his grandfather lives. But odds are he remembers hanging with his grandfather and riding the pony more than he does the Auntie Ann's that was across the way.
The story of a carousel horse that wishes it were real, The Runaway Flying Horse follows his magical flight from the 'ole round and round into the harsh real world of stable horse mocking and toy store bigotry. When he finally makes it back from his runaway journey through hell, he finds he's been replaced...
All his wooden horse courage left him. He had come so far and they had forgotten him. Not for the world could he bring himself to take to the road again. He wanted neither to be back in the stable with the real horses, nor in the loft where the Christmas toys lay covered with canvas. What was the good of going on if the carousel had no room for him anymore? All hope now lost, he simply collapsed.
Fear not readers, his despair isn't something a little paint and replacement horse hair can't fix. What I love about this book is it gives life to an inanimate thing that at its heart seems like it should have a majestic inner life. Carousel horses bring so much joy to children everywhere that it is fun to imagine them having minds of their own.