A Horse Called Farmer


36 pages
Contains Illustrations
ISBN 0-920304-34-6





Illustrations by P. John Burden
Reviewed by Susan Rogers

Susan Rogers was a librarian with the Laurenval School Board (Adult Services), Deux Montagnes, Quebec.


Based on the true account of a horse living on the Magdalen Islands in the 1920s, this story tells how Farmer, a home-loving horse, is sold and how he finds his way back home across 60 miles of land and 20 miles of dangerous ocean.

The story line holds the attention of its readers. Older children are impressed by the knowledge that it is a true story and can follow Farmer’s travels on a map supplied at the end of the book. The language in the story is rich in its sensory appeal and the book is worth re-reading for the details that may have been missed the first time.

Illustrator P. John Burden was trained in English as a line engraver, and this background is apparent in the black-and-white illustrations. The pictures are detailed and shaded and do not attract the attention of young children. The expressions on the faces of the human characters are grotesque, although this quality did not seem to disturb the children who looked at them

A Horse Called Farmer won the Writers’ Federation of Nova Scotia first prize for children’s fiction.



Cumming, Peter, “A Horse Called Farmer,” Canadian Book Review Annual Online, accessed May 21, 2024, https://cbra.library.utoronto.ca/items/show/37513.