Children's book identification halp
December 4, 2014 1:09 PM   Subscribe

I'm looking for help identifying a book I read when I was a kid in the 80s! I don't remember much about it other than some impressions about visual style, a few plot points, and one line of text. The book in question went missing when we moved in 1989, so I know it was written before then.

I've been trying to find this book on and off for 15 years or so, but without a title or more of the plot, no librarian or bookstore clerk has ever recognized it, and my parents don't remember it at all. Now that I've got a kid of my own, I'm renewing my search for books I enjoyed as a child.

Here's what I remember (or think I remember) about this one:

Plot points:
* A girl gets transformed by a curse (into a horse?)
* A young man (prince?) gets kicked out of his city and has to go wandering with his black horse (might be the girl, transformed?), possibly related to a (or the same) curse

Text: when the young man is leaving his city and has to decide where to go, he chooses based on "I'd rather have the wind at my back, telling me to go, rather than in my face, telling me to stay" (this line has stuck with me for my entire life)

Art style / physical book properties
* Relatively large (although I was small at the time) with hardback covers, and not too thick
* Color scheme of the art was predominately blues, greens, lavenders, and blacks, with an occasional red accent
* Illustration style was "scraggly" and similar to the animated The Last Unicorn and The Hobbit movies

Sometimes I wonder if I made this book up, in which case maybe I should find a writer and an illustrator to generate it...
posted by laeren to Media & Arts (4 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
I don't remember the line but that sounds like maybe a misremembered version of The Horse and His Boy by C.S. Lewis. And there is a point where they are leaving a scary place and they say something about "I'd rather not have that at my back" or something similar.
posted by xeney at 1:16 PM on December 4, 2014 [1 favorite]

That's what I was wondering too - try an image search for "the horse and his boy Pauline Baynes" to get her original illustrations?
posted by tardigrade at 2:59 PM on December 4, 2014

Try searching for Charles Keeping's illustrations as well - he did a lot of horse-related books, because his horses are amazing, and the style sounds like it might be him. Plus they are really worth seeking out anyway :)
posted by tardigrade at 3:02 PM on December 4, 2014

Response by poster: Not A Horse and His Boy, definitely; I read the Narnia books several times and the work I'm thinking of was far shorter / illustration-heavy, not a novel (although that does remind me to fill out my missing Narnia books!). The Charles Keeping art style is similar, but I'm not seeing something that looks familiar. Nuts. Maybe I did dream this book up, like my mother theorizes.
posted by laeren at 10:55 PM on December 4, 2014

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