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Saturday, September 16, 2017

Tony, written by Ed Galing and illustrated by Erin E. Stead.A Neal Porter Book, Roaring Brook Press, Macmillan. Raincoast, 2017.$23.99 ages 3 and up

" ... and pulled a milk
truck for Tom, the young
Tom Jones,
in the early hours of the
pulling the wagon loaded
with milk, butter,
and eggs ... "

Tony and Tom are of a bygone age. Their love for each other and the work they do together is fully in view here, through words and pictures. I love this quietly beautiful homage to community and the past.

Before delivery trucks and big grocery stores, families bought butter, eggs and milk from delivery horses and their drivers. Ed Galing obviously had a love for one of those horses.

" ... but I was up, and would
go out and pat Tony with
my gentle arms, and
his head would bow down
and his eyes would glow ... "

He quietly describes the nightly visits in a gentle poem, inviting readers to share that earlier time. Erin E. Stead uses Gomuban monoprinting and pencil for her reminiscent images that show what each day was like for Tony and Tom as they provided a service remembered only by those who lived back then. The warm glow from the barn light is matched by streetlamps along the way, the porch lights that welcomed the two at houses on their route, and finally the joy of dawn. The pencil sketching in soft green and grey allows for a textural and detailed portrait of the horse, and his work.
Children with their natural affinity for animals will admire everything about Tony, a horse remembered and honored here with great affection.

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