Another Review at MyShelf.Com

The First Patrol
Max and Annabel
Catelyn Kronfeld
Illustrated by Jennifer Brandon

Archway Publishing
2015/ ISBN 978-148082426-3
Children / Fiction / Animals

Reviewed by Leslie C. Halpern


This story for early readers introduces two Clydesdale horses, Max and Annabel, who stroll through Central Park in New York City with police officers riding on their backs, protecting visitors from harm. To help young readers envision their route, a two-page illustration of Central Park serves as an introduction to the book (and also appears again at the end).

From there, the actual story begins. Five-year-old Annabel is introduced to her new home and new work companions on a cold January day. After 24 hours of resting and getting familiar with her new home, she’s ready for her first day on the job patrolling Central Park. Officer Francis, Officer Michael, and fellow Clydesdale, Max, are very kind to her and show her around the area. Their leisurely pace gets interrupted when a jogger warns them that The Tennis Center is on fire. Annabel then finds herself in the middle of a rescue operation. After that, the rest of the day is calm, and they resume their casual stroll through the park until the patrol is over and the day is done.

The text is illustrated by beautiful watercolor paintings and sketches. The exciting, professional artwork elevates the story and helps readers picture the horses and their unusual day. A page titled “Did You Know” near the back of the book offers four facts about Clydesdale horses.

The only weakness in this lovely children’s book is the need for editorial assistance. Many errors appear in this brief book that may confuse young readers or teach them incorrectly. Examples of the errors include: “Up stair” instead of upstairs, “Isle” instead of aisle, “him-self” instead of himself, “to” instead of too, “out side” instead of outside, “call down” instead of calm down, and missing punctuation. With one round of professional editing, this book would be a delightful addition to a child’s bookshelf.

Reviewer Leslie C. Halpern is the author of Passionate About Their Work: 151 Celebrities, Artists, and Experts on Creativity, Rub, Scrub, Clean the Tub: Funny Children's Poems About Self-Image, and Shakes, Cakes, Frosted Flakes: Funny Children's Poems About Table Manners.
Reviewed 2016