A Classic Imaginary Friend: The Horse in Harry’s Room #tbt

I can’t remember her name, but she was a beloved part of my childhood: my imaginary sister. I am curious if the statistic I read here holds true: 65% of kids from preschool age through age 7 have a make-believe friend. Wow! I think it was my way of begging my parents for a sibling (and yes, they fulfilled my dream when I was 4 by giving me a little sister. Best. Gift Ever.).

In today’s #tbt from 1970, our protagonist has an imaginary farm animal.

harry horse

Each Thursday I’ll be featuring a book that my parents *could* have read to me as a toddler (spoiler alert: I’m no spring chicken), so we will go with a publication date of 1983 or earlier; all books must still be in print as of my writing.

Title/author: The Horse in Harry’s Room by Syd Hoff

Copyright date: 1970

Plot in a Sentence (or two): In the bedroom of his city apartment, Harry has a horse, which only he can see. When he takes a Sunday drive to the country and sees horses with plenty of space to roam, he worries that he may have to set his horse free; fortunately his horse is happy at home with Harry.

Why It’s Timeless: Preschool Bookworm has recently entered into the world of imaginative play, and it is a blast!  The Horse in Harry’s Room explores the timeless theme of the power of imagination. Hoff wrote over 50 beginning readers, this one included. As such, the vocabulary and plot are simple, but I recommend this one for read alouds too, even if you don’t have an emergent reader.

While You’re Reading: This is a quick read (we clocked it at 2 minutes and 12 seconds). Allow your bookworms to work through in their minds what is happening in the plot. I’m a big fan of not intruding during read alouds but letting the text speak for itself, giving readers (and listeners) space to be immersed. At the conclusion of the story, you can ask your bookworms, “How in the world could Harry have a horse in his room?! And how come his parents couldn’t see it?!” Share stories of your own adventures with imaginary pets.


Just for Fun: For another take on imaginary friends, check out this year’s Caldecott Award winner, The Adventures of Beekle: The Unimaginary Friend. It’s the magical, beautiful, funny story of Beekle, who grows tired of waiting to be imagined by a real child. To find his friend, he takes off on an adventure into the real world, a “strange place. No one was eating cake. No one stopped to hear the music. And everyone needed naptime.” He finally meets Alice and they learn the joys of true friendship.

How about you? Did you have an imaginary friend/sibling/farm animal when you were small?  Have the children you love had them? 

Keep Reading!

Books mentioned in this post should be readily available at your local library, or at the Amazon affiliate link provided.

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