Verdict: QUINCY AND BUCK is a beautifully illustrated picture book with a positive story about confidence and reaping rewards for confronting fears, perfect for young equestrians.
When Quincy is finally taken on a trail ride, he overcomes his fear of the desert but also proves to be good role model for the bully, Buck.
This third book in the Quincy the Horse series offers another adventure involving Quincy, who lives in a barn near the desert. Although is best friend is Beau, Quincy never goes along when Beau is taken on trail rides because Quincy is afraid of the wild animals, like cougars and rattlesnakes, even rabbits that he might encounter on the trail. But one day, Quincy’s owner, Cam saddles up Quincy for a trail ride. Instead of Beau accompanying him on the trip, Quincy finds Buck, a smart, brave and experienced horse to be his leader. Quincy tries to follow Buck and learn from him, but Quincy discovers that Buck did not want to be helpful and is quite a mean horse. In fact, Cam even describes Buck as a “bully”, and finally puts the lead reins on Quincy. After an encounter with a dirt bike, Quincy realizes that he is actually as brave, if not braver than Buck.
Quincy’s lesson in confidence is gently told through a story that weaves the activity of the horses with the details of the landscape in which they live. Like the full page and sometimes double page watercolor illustrations that complement the story, the story itself is simple but evocative, subtle and meaningful. Author Camille Matthews focuses on Quincy’s confidence and pride in his successful trail ride rather than placing emphasis on the dirt bike intimidating Buck. Also, while the bullying horse’s behavior is shown to be wrong, Matthews does not overplay the issue, but rather deals with it in a constructive way that gives Buck a consequence for his behavior but focuses more on the opportunity for Quincy to prove to himself that he can go on a trail ride.
There is some awkward formatting of the story, however the pace of the story and attractive layout make the book entertaining for young listeners ages five and up, while the short, simple sentence structure and vocabulary are accessible for experienced readers ages eight and up.
QUINCY AND BUCK is a beautifully illustrated picture book with a positive story about confidence and reaping rewards for confronting fears, perfect for young equestrians.
Reviewed by Maya Fleischmann for IndieReader.