The rib tickling, Parmesan The Reluctant Racehorse, was written by Jacqui Halpin and illustrated by John Phillips.

If only we could all live a life like Parmesan the Reluctant Racehorse, with our quirks tolerated and our desires fulfilled.  I love that Parmesan is able to lead a happy ‘dog’s life’.

Jacqui keeps the reader firmly in the saddle with repetition, rhyme and the delightful imagery of the horse who scratches, digs, licks and fetches … just like a dog! Jacqui’s carefully chosen words are tickled pink by the hilarious illustrations of John Phillips.

As the reader (over and over again, unrelentingly!) I love the clever choice of words allowing me to pause dramatically and canter along. I enjoy playing with the onomatopoeia and contrasting words like ‘sssssstreeeeetched’ and ‘dig’.

As in any good story, life is not totally on the straight for Parmesan. Jacqui  uses the happy go lucky Joe to let us know that all is not well. If Joes is worried, we should be worried too.

‘If he’s not ready to run in the Spring Carnival next week, I’m getting rid of him.’ 

Joe, the trainer was worried.

With a natural twist of the repetition, it seems that Joe has managed to get Parmesan to race like a horse at the last minute.

… but some things never change.

Long live Parmesan … and those of us who like to do things our own way!