Something To Do

A Ride on the Red Mare’s Back Review and a look at Swedish Folklore

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I have this collection of beautiful red dala horses from Dalarna Sweden. I’ve always wondered why they originated and if there is a folkloric story behind them.

The wait is over! Ursula Le Guin, my college English professor, has crafted a brilliant tale about a little girl who goes searching for her brother who has been stolen by trolls.

Author Ursula K. Le Guin writes:

“When I visited Sweden a couple of years ago, a friend there gave me as a parting gift a little red wooden horse, a Dalarna (or Dala) Horse, a symbol of Sweden. I then bought myself a very little one, a colt, to give my granddaughter, Lyra.

I thought perhaps there was some story about them. But there seemed to be no legend. The furniture-makers of Dalarna carved little wooden horses from their scraps of wood, and painted them red, with flower garlands – and everyone who saw them loved them!

As a child I had a book about a wooden horse that comes to life. The book was missing some pages – and it was in German! I would only make up the story by looking at the charming pictures. Perhaps it was memories of that half-told tale that made my little red mare begin to come to life in my mind. But the tale she told me was a new one.”

A Ride on the Red Mare’s Back by Ursula K Le Guin, illustrated by Julie Downing.

Swedish folklore

Having no one to guide her except for a little red toy horse pointing the way from inside her coat pocket, a young girl goes looking for her brother who was taken by trolls. As they approach a bridge, a troll jumps out from underneath. Springing to life, the red horse becomes the girl’s protector. For one night the horse is alive to help her find her brother.

A Ride on a Red Mare's Back

Coming to a cave they find the young brother among many rude and ugly trolls. Using her knitting needles, wit and bravery, the young girl brings happiness back to her family by returning home with her brother.

Perfect for read-aloud time, this captivating story and beautiful illustrations has become a favorite which we read over and over again. This  delight book is prefect for ages 4 and up. Get more details about A Ride on a Red Mare’s Back on Amazon.

***Some of these links are affiliate links. If you click a link and buy a book, I will get a tiny commission at no extra cost to you. I use this money for book shipping supplies and giveaways.

Something To Do:

Your own little Red Mare.

Would you like a little red mare to be your friend or to ride along in your pocket? Here’s one to make of your very own.

The Red Mare

The Simple Scarf

The scarf and knitting play a big part in this book. The little girl brought a scarf she had knitted for her brother to keep him warm once she found him. To outsmart those trolls and to bring her brother back, she left them with some yarn and needles. As they tried to figure it out, she snuck out with her brother. Try a simple scarf of your very own.

A Simple Scarf


Knitting Lessons For Kids

From Daily Knitting:

Download How to Knit for Beginners: Easy Knitting Instructions to Help You Learn to Knit!

This free eBook is full of tips and tricks for beginning knitters, including lots of illustrations. A great resource for learning how to knit.

Enjoy “A Ride on the Red Mare’s Back”

Listen to author Ursula K. Le Guin read “A Ride on a Red Mare’s Back” 

There is a long music intro by  Third Angel New Music Ensemble and composed by Bryan Johanson, which really sets the mood. We listened to this while we sat by the fire crafting. Such a jewel of an experience.


Dala Horse Embroidery Pattern

Red Mare embroidery pattern

Blogging friend Lily Boot from Block-A-Day was also inspired by this lovely story and created a beautiful stitch pattern to remember it by. You can find it here.

Interested in Ursula Le Guin? You can find out more about her here.

Ursula K. Le Guin
taken 11/8/13 in the EMU Ballroom, University of Oregon campus, by Jack Liu, professional photographer / Jack Liu with permission granted to Ursula K. Le Guin from Jack Liu.

**Some of these links are affiliate links. That means if you click and buy, I may get a very small commission. This money goes towards postage and supplies to keep books and ideas in the hands of young readers!

If you are in the mood for another and interactive story, check out the enhanced digital eBook for kids, The Ultimate Guide to Charlie and The Chocolate Factory!

The Ultimate Guide To Charlie And The Chocolate Factory is a step by step roadmap to this magical world. Just some of the fun includes:

  • A story filled with beautiful graphic illustrations including tantalizing Treasure Maps and vibrant tutorials.
  • Over 20 Crafts and activities that not only entertain, but educate.
  • You get to jump inside the book and enjoy creating the adventures yourself (Templates, maps, and more are included.)
  • Ever wonder where chocolate comes from? Or how gum is made? Wonder no more. Now you get to make your own.
  • Conduct activities in the areas of crafting, cooking, and game-playing as well as exploring many facets of candy production.
  • The option to take Charlie’s journey over the course of several days or take shorter journeys if you wish.
  • The creation of a new ritual of reading time with your family and the opportunity to experience the reading of this imaginative tale as a group activity, not a solitary event.

Go HERE to learn more and grab your copy from iBooks!

The Ultimate Guide to Charlie

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