Sunday, October 4, 2009

Book Review-A Horse Of Course by Shari Lyle-Soffe

Today I am reviewing a picture book by Shari Lyle-Soffe called A Horse Of Course.

The book is illustrated by Eugene Ruble
Publisher is Guardian Angel Publishing
eBook ISBN 13: 978-1-935137-83-2
ISBN 10: 1-935137-83-2


A Horse Of Course is a delightful tale about a little boy named Aaron and his new pet. On Aaron’s birthday his Grandpa Roy, who lives on a farm, gives to him the very best gift ever— a horse. Aaron was more than happy to accept the gift because a horse is something he always wanted. However, Aaron didn’t realize how much of a responsibility Horace was going to be, especially when Aaron wanted Horace to live with him in his house. As you can imagine, a horse in a house can mean only one thing— a terrible mess. In fact, there are so many messes that Aaron’s mom refuses to clean up and makes Aaron do it. Aaron has a hard time adjusting with his new situation when Horace takes over the things that he enjoys. For example, when Horace eats his birthday cake, takes a bath in his tub, sits in his spot on the couch and sleeps in his bed while he is left sleeping on the floor. What a disaster! What will Aaron do to solve his new problem? Should he keep Horace and lay down some rules? Or should he think of a better place for Horace to stay where he will be happier? You will have to find out for yourself.

Overall my children and I liked the story. It was funny and well told. The illustrations are unique and full of character. They express to the reader exactly what is going on and portrays the story very well. The illustrations bring the story to life while causing the reader to laugh and share in the silliness of Horace and his actions. Shari and Eugene combine together to make a very cute tale and to teach children that before getting a pet, you must know how to take care of that pet so both owner and pet will be happy.


Joining us today is Shari Lyle-Soffe, author of A Horse Of Course. We’re going to talk to Shari about her new picture book.

Welcome, Shari. It’s great to have you with us.
Thank you, Renee. It’s a pleasure to be here.

Please tell our readers a bit about yourself.

I am a wife, mother, and grandmother. I have been writing for a little over ten years. I live in the woods of Southern Oregon with wildlife everywhere.

How did your writing career begin?
Like most writers my career began with a lot of rejection slips. In the beginning I wrote for children’s magazines. I started out with puzzles, games, crafts, poems, and eventually short stories. I have had the good fortune to be published in many of the better known children’s magazines.

Tell us about A Horse Of Course.
A Horse Of Course is my fifth book to be published. It is a humorous story of Aaron and the horse he receives for his birthday. Aaron thinks Horace, the horse, should live in the house with him. Father agrees but Mother isn’t so sure that is a good idea. Eventually Aaron begins to question the wisdom of this decision and must think of what is best for Horace.

What age group is this book for?
I think it would be good for children from 3 to age 9.

This is a very cute picture book. What inspired you to write it?
I was talking to a little boy once and he told me he wanted a horse. When I asked him where he would keep the horse he answered, “In my house.” The story grew out of that comment.

In what forms is your book available? Is it available in e-book, hard cover or traditional paperback, or all?
My book is available in e-book formats and paperback. They are available from ,, , Barnes and Noble, etc. and most brick and mortar book stores.

Have you written other books? If so, tell us about them.
I have a picture storybook series about brother raccoons: The Misadventures of Rooter and Snuffle, On the Go With Rooter and Snuffle, and Trouble Finds Rooter and Snuffle and I’m working on a new book for this series. Each book contains 3 independent stories.
I also have a picture book titled Nothing Stops Noah. A little boy is determined to earn money to buy a gift for his mother. He secures a job in a pet store owned by his grandfather. Before the store opens Grandpa leaves Noah in charge and asks him to feed the animals. Chaos prevails when all of the animals escape and Noah must find a way to return the unruly animals to their cages.

Do you have a website and/or blog where readers can find out more?
To learn more about my books readers can go to

What kinds of activities will children find when visiting your website and blog?
On the left-hand side of my blog is a site directory with separate links for my series and each picture book. They will find book trailers, the Rooter and Snuffle theme song, games, puzzles, coloring pages, recipes, etc.

I have read that you have written for various magazines. Can you tell us a little more about that?
It was a great way to build up my confidence. I think you need to start with what you know. I loved crossword puzzles, poems, and crafts and I had been a professional crafter for four years. It was an easy way for me to get started, although it didn’t seem so easy at the time. All of my training to become a writer came from books. After I had some success I started writing short stories for children and writing articles for children’s writers.

I have heard that you live in the woods in Oregon. Does this help with developing your characters?
It gives me pleasure and often inspires my writing. Wildlife is such fun to watch. I have always loved animals. I think they have so much in common with children. They are mischievous yet innocent. Part of my youth was spent in the Redwoods of Northern California. My characters really come from my childhood and the lives of children I know.

Tell us about some of your favorite animals and why?
I love raccoons. I used to watch them when they visited our garbage cans on the back porch. I’m also fond of Stellars Jays because they are so sassy and bold. I enjoy the skunks, opossum, rabbits, deer, whatever we have I enjoy.

Where can readers purchase your books and how much do they cost?
The Rooter and Snuffle books are $9.95 each and the picture books are $10.95 each. They are available everywhere. If your store doesn’t have it in stock they can order it.

What's next for you? Is there anything else that you are involved in or working on?
I have a new picture book under contract called Shoo Cat! I am working on a new Rooter and Snuffle book, and I hope to write a tween novel soon.

Has writing always been a passion for you?
I have always written my thoughts and feelings down just for me not for anyone else to read. I have written poems just for fun and had a couple read on the weather report in San Diego years ago. I often thought of being a writer but didn’t feel qualified.

Is there anything else that you would like to add or share?
A while ago I came across my first book. It was a grade school assignment. It consisted of folded and stapled construction paper. The title was The Pink Pony. I wrote one sentence, “I have a pink pony”, and thought that was a book. I also illustrated that book. My father was a professional writer. He must have been mortified when he saw it. Hopefully my writing has improved.

Thank you so much for taking the time to talk to our readers today. Good luck in all of your future endeavors. Please check out this picture book by Shari Lyle-Soffe.


  1. Sounds like a marvelous, funny book. Love the illustrations. I'm a new author with Guardian Angels. It's a pleasure to meet you!

  2. I really enjoyed the book. It sounds like you get your inspiration a lot like I do. You take something that happens or that you hear and it spins into a story. You did a great job with Nothing Stops Noah andn Rooter & Snuffle. I love your writing. It's so much fun.
    J. Aday Kennedy
    The Differently-AbledChildren's Author
    Coming this winter “Klutzy Kantor” picture book

  3. Terrific review and interview. Keep 'em coming.

    Best wishes for everyone's continued success!

    Children’s Author
    Write What Inspires You Blog
    The Golden Pathway Story book Blog
    Donna M. McDine’s Website

  4. Thank you everyone for visiting my blog and commenting. Shari is a vary talented author and I hope everyone enjoys her new book.

    Renee Hand

  5. Great interview girls. I love Shari's books, al of them. Thanks for sharing a little about your life. I enjoy getting to know more about my 'cyber friends.'

    Joy Delgado

  6. Really nice blog,enjoyed it,
    Sounds like fun book, Shari
    fun illustrations Eugene

    Kit Grady