Robert was a happy little horse.
He lived on a farm.
He lived with his mother
That is, until the fateful birthday party. All of his friends come. They wait expectantly as Robert’s mother brings in the cake decorated with beautiful red roses. Robert puts his nose right into a rose and takes a big sniff. Then Robert gets a funny feeling. His eyes begin to itch. His nose begins to itch. And then . . .
The doctor comes and diagnoses Robert’s rose allergy. Because there are too many roses on the farm, he says that Robert must move to the city. Assuring his mother and father that he will be all right, Robert heads to the city to look for a job. It turns out that isn’t as easy as he had thought it would be. And every time he finds one, contrary to the doctor’s expectation Robert somehow encounters roses, devastates his surroundings with a gargantuan sneeze, and gets fired.
Finally, he gets a job as a police horse. He loves his job directing traffic and helping children and kittens cross the street. Then, one day, there is a bank robbery! Robert must think quickly in order to stop them. At last his allergy becomes an asset!
This sneeze is such a big sneeze that it seems it will be his last, and Robert will be able to live happily, and allergy-free, ever after.
My sisters and I got this book from a monthly book club our mom joined when I was in about first grade. So I have loved it for at least 50 years. P.D. Eastman manages to give a wide range of endearing, human-like expressions to a horse. When Robert is sad, I am sad with him. I also share his happiness.
I have always love this sort of illustration with many different things going on at once. There is so much for a child to look at while being read to, and food for the imagination even if he can read the book himself.
I loved sharing this book with my children, and now I’m making sure my grandchildren and students also get to enjoy it.