This is an unusual and magical story about a beloved statue of a man on a horse. What’s unusual is that the statue comes to life and at first only changes position when people in the museum aren’t looking. However, once the horse from the statue goes missing, wanders into the forest and befriends a previously lonely Lyla, the magic really begins. Lyla lives in an odd house that is ‘taller than the trees’, presumably alone, and before meeting the horse, spends her time in her bedroom daydreaming. With the horse in her life, Lyla’s days are filled with happiness.
The story leans precariously towards the fantastical, but the delicate illustrations are charmingly original. Nicolas works predominantly in sepia tones, adding touches of red, orange and yellow sparingly but to great effect. The sepia varies from aggressive and scratchy to ethereal and misty, depending on the mood of the story. The variety of colour increases as Lyla’s and the horse’s relationship develops, but then fades again as Lyla realises what (or who) the horse is missing.
In the end, the horse is reunited with his rider and returns to his rightful place. Lyla is rewarded not only for finding ‘the lost horse’ but with her lasting memories of a special friendship.