Review by Vivienne Martini, Learning Advisor, Oranga Tamariki and Sam
ACE: A horsey tail of courage
Katy Clook, Kophie Hulsbosch (2018). New Zealand: Whalan & Partners.
An anti bullying story book for children with a story that follows the life of a horse who despite being bullied ends up achieving his long held dreams and goals.

“I thought it was a nice story, and the moral of the story was that on the outside Ace looked like a scared horse but on the inside he was really brave.

He might have been too scared to tell his teacher that he was being picked on. After the bullies teased him and he fell in the puddle when he was pretending to be a crusader, Holly helped him. She told him it is OK to tell someone.

The bullies actually turned out to be nice too. They were also picked on. They became Ace’s friends. It’s all about courage and being brave even when you are feeling scared, and practicing your skills at home and not letting anyone put you down.”

Sam Baakman, age 8

My boys Sam, Jasper and Oscar were entranced by the story of Ace, a horse who lives at the Clipclop School for Horsekids. Ace isn’t like the other horses: he isn’t good at running or playing rugby, his mane won’t stay in place, he is small and he is lonely. What makes it even harder for Ace is he is called names by the Boot Boys, a group of horses who push and shove and say mean things to him. Ace finally gets to live his dream of being a Crusaders horse, and along the way he is helped by the wise Holly who helps him tell his teacher about what is happening and how sad he is. As it transpired the Boot Boys were also bullied, so everyone learnt something about themselves and each other.

The illustrations are wonderful. The drawings are colourful and not overly complex. My boys’ ages range from 8 to 4 and they all concentrated on the story and pictures. The layout is excellent, with a beautiful bright picture to go with every written page.

This is a great little book if you are looking for a simple story to help your child deal with being bullied and ridiculed. It is non-confrontational and it relays a gentle and compelling message about how it is OK to be different and most importantly having big dreams is actually very cool!

The book also contains practical information to support parents and whānau. Ace is a great little book to start the conversation about how bullying is never OK, and that everyone has the right to feel safe and valued for who they are (even if their mane totally refuses to part like everyone else’s).

Reviewed by Vivienne Martini, Learning Advisor, Oranga Tamariki

Disclaimer: Please note these reviews are not intended as endorsements or recommendations from the Mental Health Foundation. This feature introduces resources that may be useful for individuals with an interest in bullying prevention, mental health and wellbeing topics.

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