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Dobbin and the Stardust Trail Review by Heather Randall

Diana Medler
Good Sound Publishing
295 Olive Avenue
Palo Alto, CA 94306

Dobbin and the Stardust Trail is a fantasy picture book about horses. In the story a little girl named Diana has a stuffed horse that she imagines riding. She dreams of riding her horse Dobbin in the heavenly pastures where horses play and dance while waiting to be chosen to appear in the dreams of children. Once chosen, they follow a stardust trail into the children's dreams. While visiting the heavenly pastures with Dobbin one night, Diana meets a horse named Sparkle who misses a little girl named Sarah, whom he often visits. Diana soon learns that Sarah is in the hospital and very sick. She and Dobbin visit the little girl in the hospital by dream. They soon find a way to bring Sparkle to little Sarah, but will this be enough to save her life?

I would say this book is for children ages 6-10. Girls might respond better to this book than boys. This story is not specifically for homeschool families and could be read to any child. I would caution parents who oppose magic and spirituality in picture books. This story refers to Dobbin's ability to touch the spirit of the sick girl, Sarah. There is a definite mystical element to the story.

I enjoyed the illustrations in Dobbin and the Stardust Trail. The horses and children are beautifully painted. The colors are rich and deep and have a great sparkling effect that captures the nighttime fantasy.

Overall, though, I did not care for this book. I'm not a huge fan of mystical elements in children's books. The concept of the horse touching the sick child's spirit was a little creepy to me. With a child in a coma and near death, the story felt heavy and sad to me. This is not a book that I'm likely to recommend.

Product review by Heather Randall, The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine, LLC, January 2010