Tim the Tiny Horse by Harry Hill
|Tim the Tiny Horse by Harry Hill|
|Reviewer: Magda Healey|
|Summary: Whimsical humour with gentle touches, this will leave a warm glow in a reader. Probably more appreciated by a grown up than a child, though.|
|Buy? Maybe||Borrow? Maybe|
|Pages: 176||Date: October 2007|
|Publisher: Faber Children's Books|
After doing even tiny bit of research I realised that I must be the only person out there who ever read Tim the Tiny Horse having never heard of the author. Thus, I have to take another reviewer's word that it's "typical Harry Hill" and will make an attempt at reviewing Tim as a stand-alone.
I am happy to say that it acquits itself well. Tim is a horse, blue and so tiny that he lives in matchbox with a tic-tac box for a conservatory. A single Hoola-Hoop makes his lunch (he prefers barbecue beef flavour) and a fly (called Fly) is his best friend. Tim doesn't do much - apart from a few not very successful attempts at making it big in the media he seem to spend days watching television and socialising with Fly.
The book contains several short morality tales featuring Tim; each of them is a few pages long, with a little text and illustrated with delightful cartoons. It's all very slight (no, it's not an attempt at a pun): "whimsical" seems like a word purposefully created to describe Tim the Tiny Horse but has so much grace and gentle humour that it's hard to imagine a reader that won't enjoy a dip and chortle at Tim's world.
It's a world full of current pop-cultural references, but understanding them precisely is not necessary for enjoyment. For example, Tim has a bit of obsession with a newsreader called Anna Ford: I don't have a television so I am not familiar with Ms Ford (I checked and she's real and not a character in Tim's milieu), but I can still appreciate Tim's heartache.
There is a wealth of astute observations of our modern lives in Tim's adventures and some of them brought tears of recognition to my eyes. I particularly enjoyed Tim's foray into the world of Internet where he goes to an Internet cafe and sits in front of Google (sorry, Hooofle - the whole book is full of such touches) trying to think of something to look up. He can't think of anything and, of course, looks up himself to be instead told about a long-lived (but now sadly departed) tortoise called Tim.
I am not entirely sure how old one needs to be to appreciate Tim the Tiny Horse . Most of the underlying gentle ironies seemed to me to be firmly hooked in the grown-up life, and the fun-poking at the television and the verbal humour are both rather subtle.
However, children will be able to understand the stories and might even take their morals at the face value (while I suspect most of the grown ups will treat them as tongue in cheek). What I liked about Tim - the deadpan narrative, the sheer delightful absurdity of the figure of a tinny-tiny, simpleton blue horse (an equine Candide, perhaps) in front of the telly, munching on a hoola-hoop - will probably go over the heads of most smaller children.
I would cautiously recommend Tim the Tiny Horse for readers of 10 and above, but in all honesty probably more for adults than children or teenagers. Worth buying for yourself if a whimsical humour is your thing and you can get it postage-free for the Amazon's price; or a great solution to a present dilemma or two.
Thanks to the publisher for sending this volume to the Bookbag.
For some reason Tim made me think of Ottoline, even though she's a normally sized girl and has rather more exciting adventures.
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