“Steve is a fine horse,” begins Kelly Collier's clever picture book. “But he thinks he could be finer. He wants to be EXCEPTIONAL.” When Steve finds a beautiful gold horn lying on the ground in the forest, he realizes he has found his path to the exceptional! He immediately ties the horn to the top of his head and prances off to show his friends. Not everyone is impressed, but most of his friends agree --- Steve and his horn are indeed exceptional. In fact, many of his friends are so inspired, they decide to tie items to the tops of their heads as well. So when Steve discovers his horn has suddenly gone missing, he's devastated and frantically searches everywhere to find it. He won't be exceptional without his horn! Or will he? This is a laugh-out-loud tale of an endearingly self-absorbed horse, illustrated in lively black-and-white artwork. Throughout the story, Collier interweaves humorous commentary and some definitions (such as for devastated: “That means really, really bummed.”). The tone of the book allows children to feel like they're in on the joke while the main character isn't, adding to the amusement. Besides its fun appeal as a read-aloud, this book would be a terrific choice to launch discussions on self-esteem, particularly about the difference between what people think will make them special and what actually does make them special. It also works for lessons on proper social skills and how to treat your friends.
First-time author-illustrator Kelly Collier was born in Ottawa and grew up in Toronto. Kelly studied illustration in college and has had lots of editorial work published, but has always wanted to create a children's book. Kelly married a fellow artist who doesn't complain when her projects take over the entire house, she has a dog who sort of resembles Steve and she really loves gold.
Tonally and structurally, the book is reminiscent of the works of Mélanie Watt ...
- Quill & Quire
... this tale of hubris and self-expression will have both parents and children rolling with laughter.
Steve's larger-than-life antics and slapstick foibles will put him right at home alongside other iconic and beloved children's book characters.
- The Globe and Mail
... a high speed, tightly woven read ...
- CM Magazine