Harry Horse (1960–) Biography
Personal, Addresses, Career, Honors Awards, Writings, Adaptations, Sidelights
(Richard George Anthony Horne)
Born 1960, in Earlsdon, Coventry, Warwickshire, England; Education: Attended Wrekin College. Politics: Liberal. Religion: Church of England (Anglican). Hobbies and other interests: Playing the banjo.
Agent—Caroline Sheldon, 71 Hillgate Place, London W8 7SS, England.
Illustrator, writer, cartoonist, and musician. Candlemaker Row, Edinburgh, Scotland, and Silvermills Lane, Edinburgh, Scotland, book illustrator, 1977–80; Syming-ton Mains, Fountainhall, The Borders, Scotland, book illustrator, 1980–83. Scotland on Sunday, political cartoonist, 1987–92; freelance writer and illustrator of children's books. Musician in Cajun bands Swamptrash, 1987, and Hexology; also worked as a forger, early 1980s. Creator of video games, including Drowned God and CULT.
Writer of the Year Award, Scottish Arts Council, 1984, and SAC Publishers Award, both for The Ogopogo; Smarties Gold Award, British Book Trust, 1998, for The Last Gold Diggers; Kinderjury Award, 1998, for The Last Polar Bears; Smarties Silver Award for Six-to-Eight Category, 2003, for The Last Castaways.
The Ogopogo; or, My Journey with the Loch Ness Monster, MacDonald (Loanhead, Scotland), 1981.
The Last Polar Bears, Viking (London, England), 1993.
A Friend for Little Bear, Candlewick (Cambridge, MA), 1996.
The Last Gold Diggers, Puffin (London, England), 1998.
The Last Cowboys, Puffin (London, England), 1999.
Little Rabbit Lost, Peachtree (Atlanta, GA), 2002.
The Last Castaways: Being, as It Were, an Account of a Small Dog's Adventures at Sea, Puffin (London, England), 2003.
Little Rabbit Goes to School, Peachtree (Atlanta, GA), 2004.
Little Rabbit Runaway, Peachtree (Atlanta, GA), 2005.
Writer and designer of Drowned God, a CD-ROM computer game published by Time Warner, 1996.
Michael Mullin, Magus the Lollipopman, Canongate (Edinburgh, Scotland), 1981.
David Hamilton, The Good Golf Guide to Scotland, Canongate (Edinburgh, Scotland), 1982, published as The Scottish Golf Guide, 1985.
Robert Louis Stevenson, The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, Canongate (Edinburgh, Scotland), 1986, Dufour Editions (Chester Springs, PA), 1987.
Stuart McDonald, The Adventures of Endill Swift, Canongate (Edinburgh, Scotland), 1990.
Martin C. Strong, The Great Rock Discography, Canongate (Edinburgh, Scotland), 1994.
Yefim Druts and Alexei Gessler, Russian Gypsy Tales, Trafalgar Square (North Pomfret, VT), 1995.
Susan Price, editor, Horror Stories, Larousse Kingfisher Chambers (London, England), 1995, Kingfisher (Boston, MA), 1998.
Martin C. Strong, The Wee Rock Discography, Canongate (Edinburgh, Scotland), 1996.
Jim Dodge, Fup, Rebel, Inc., 1997.
Dick King-Smith, Noah's Brother, Puffin (London, England), 1998.
Dick King-Smith, Tumbleweed, Puffin (London, England), 1998.
Dick King-Smith, Toby Man, Penguin (London, England), 1998.
Martin C. Strong, The Great Metal Discography, Interlink, 1999.
Higglety Pigglety Pop (collected poems), Walker (London, England), 1999.
Margaret Mahy, A Villain's Night Out, Puffin (London, England), 1999.
Tony Mitton, What's the Time Mr Wolf?, Walker (London, England), 1999.
Dick King-Smith, Julius Caesar's Goat, Penguin (London, England), 1999.
Dorothy O. Van Woerkom, reteller, Abu Ali Counts His Donkeys: A Folktale from the Middle East, Walker (London, England), 1999, Candlewick Press (Cambridge, MA), 2000.
Michael Rosen, Centrally Heated Knickers, Puffin (London, England), 2000.
Helen Armstrong, The Road to Somewhere, Orion (London, England), 2000.
Ann Harvey, editor, The Naughtiest Children I Know, Red Fox (London, England), 2000.
Dick King-Smith, Chewing the Cud, Viking (London, England), 2001.
Vivian French, Jack and the Beanstalk (play), Walker (London, England), 2001.
John Wallace, Anything for You, Puffin (London, England), 2003, HarperCollins (New York, NY), 2004.
Contributor of cartoons to numerous publications, including London Guardian, London Sunday Telegraph, and New Yorker, and of weekly cartoon "Horsebox" to Scotsman.
The Last Polar Bears was adapted for film, Telemagination/ITV, 2000.
Harry Horse is the pen name of British author, cartoonist, and illustrator Richard Horne. Beginning his career writing and illustrating the award-winning 1981 book The Ogopogo; or, My Journey with the Loch Ness Monster, Horse worked as an illustrator for several years before penning another story. His next self-illustrated book, 1993's The Last Polar Bears, details the story of an adventurous grandfather and his dog, Roo, who are on a journey to seek the last polar bears. The tale is uniquely told through a collection of letters from the grandfather, traveling in the Arctic, to his grandchild back home. This frequently humorous tale also addresses serious issues like the hazards of such a journey, as well as larger issues such as pollution and global warming. The Last Polar Bears met with an enthusiastic reception by critics, George Hunt writing in Books for Keeps that Horse's line drawings are "sprightly and facetious," and that the work as a whole creates an "original atmosphere." School Librarian critic Janet Tayler also praised the artwork, raving: "I love the delightful illustrations … that accompany the text as Grandfather's sketches in his letters."
A heartwarming story that focuses on the true meaning of friendship, A Friend for Little Bear finds Little Bear stranded, all alone, on a deserted island. Wishing for a playmate, the lonesome bear begins pulling all sorts of things from the sea, including a wooden horse. While wooden horse becomes Little Bear's first playmate, the bear continues to search for a best friend, until an accident helps him realize what a true friend is. Patricia Mahoney Brown, writing in School Library Journal, paid tribute to Horse's self-illustrated storybook, terming it an "effective springboard for discussions on friendship, values, materialism, loneliness, and happiness." A critic for Kirkus Reviews also deemed the book a worthy effort, remarking that it "has a message, one worth repeating," and noting Horse's "sweet, engaging" drawings." In a Publishers Weekly review, although the critic found Horse's story somewhat "contrived," the author's watercolor illustrations were dubbed "a cut above" and "refreshing."
Like A Friend for Little Bear, Little Rabbit Lost also finds a young creature all alone and making the best of things. In this case, Little Rabbit has a birthday and knows that with this extra year he is now ready to deal independently with the world. When his family decides to take him to the Rabbit World amusement park, Little Rabbit rushes on ahead, assuring his parents that he knows the way but getting lost instead. Horse's story "perfectly captures the wonder … of a child on the cusp between toddler and big kid," wrote a Publishers Weekly reviewer, while in Booklist Helen Rosenberg predicted that "children will welcome this charming story" and enjoy the illustrations' "clever details." School Library Journal Jane Marino praised the book for its "deft and light touch," adding that Horse's gentle watercolor paintings effectively bring to life his "small, but intrepid protagonist." Little Rabbit reappears in several other books, including Little Rabbit Goes to School, in which a favorite toy is smuggled into class on the first day of school, and Little Rabbit Runaway, in which the author/illustrator "once again demonstrates his intuitive understanding of preschoolers' minds and moods," according to a Publishers Weekly critic. Noting the "universal appeal of tales about running away," Suzanne Myers Harold noted in School Library Journal that Horse's saga of the little bunny that leaves home to avoid his parents only to find that a new friend is even more bossy is "amusing and realistic."
In addition to picture books, Horse has built a following as a political cartoonist through his "Horsebox" comic strip published in the Scotsman and his work in several major publications, and he was cartoonist on staff of the Scotland on Sunday from 1987 to 1992. In the 1990s he also illustrated several nonfiction adult titles focusing on contemporary music that were written by Martin C. Strong, among them The Great Metal Discography, The Great Rock Discography, and The Great Psychedelic Discography. He is also the creator of the Drowned God video game, which posits that the world we know may have roots other than those history has revealed. As Horse explained in an interview on Gamespot.com, "The idea behind Drowned God is that history may have been manipulated to hide certain facts that might drastically change the way we see ourselves as a race … that maybe the evolution of mankind was aided or altered by outside forces."
Horse once told SATA: "I wanted to become an illustrator at a ridiculously precocious age. I was seven when I first told my parents that I wanted to illustrate books when I grew up. Their reaction to this news was not what I had anticipated. It was to become a source of conflict for the next ten years, culminating with me running away from home at the age of seventeen to pursue my chosen career.
"I had no formal art training, as I was unable to attend art college without my parents' help. So I began work in Edinburgh as a staff illustrator on a magazine called City Lynx. I was nineteen when I illustrated Magus the Lollipopman, a delightful story by the Irish writer Michael Mullin. Two years later, I wrote my first book, and it contained many of the threads that I have revisited in my work—namely, an old man's last journey on this earth."
Biographical and Critical Sources
Booklist, October 1, 2005, Jennifer Mattson, review of Little Rabbit Runaway, p. 63.
Books for Keeps, January, 1997, George Hunt, review of The Last Polar Bears, pp. 21-22; December 1, 2002, Helen Rosenberg, review of Little Rabbit Lost, p. 674; August, 2004, Stephanie Zvirin, review of Little Rabbit Goes to School, p. 1948
Carousel, spring, 1999, p. 30.
Kirkus Reviews, July 15, 1996, review of A Friend for Little Bear, p. 1049; August 15, 2004, review of Little Rabbit Goes to School, p. 807; September 1, 2005, review of Little Rabbit Runaway, p. 974.
Publishers Weekly, August 19, 1996, review of A Friend for Little Bear, p. 66; September 2, 2002, review of Little Rabbit Lost, p. 74; February 9, 2004, review of Anything for You, p. 79; September 6, 2004, review of Little Rabbit Goes to School, p. 61; July 25, 2005, review of Little Rabbit Runway, p. 74.
School Librarian, autumn, 1999, review of The Last Cowboys, pp. 136, 145; spring, 2001, review of The Last Polar Bears, p. 18.
School Library Journal, February, 1994, Janet Tayler, review of The Last Polar Bears, p. 21; September, 1996, Patricia Mahoney Brown, review of A Friend for Little Bear, p. 180; October, 2002, Jane Marino, review of Little Rabbit Lost, p. 112; October, 2004, Judith Constantinides, review of Little Rabbit Goes to School, p. 118; September, 2005, Suzanne Myers Harold, review of Little Rabbit Runaway, p. 173.
Gamespot.com, http://www.gamespot.com/ (March 28, 2006), interview with Horse.
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