A Nobleboro horse is the star of a new children’s book series told from his perspective, with its first volume released last weekend by author, and owner, Virginia Shaw Genthner.
“Jellybean Finds a Family” tells the story of his long journey from Germany to Maine.
“The premise is, he feels like he’s useless and won’t find a family, and he ends up finding one,” Genthner said.
Jellybean, a 16-year-old Holsteiner horse, was imported from Germany for the show jumping circuit by friends of Genthner’s. After he tore a suspensory ligament in his hind leg four years ago, he was sent to Genthner at Stonewall Stables in Nobleboro, where he lives today.
After about nine months of rehab, he competes on the show jumping circuit again, now ridden by Genthner’s daughter.
Genthner said she never thought she would write a children’s book, and did not plan to be a writer, but had been thinking about a story from a horse’s perspective and wrote Jellybean’s first book in several days.
“I have the perfect horse to tell that story,” she said. “He has a very large personality for a horse. He made it easy to write about him.”
Genthner began her career riding horses in Massachusetts at 3 years old, and has been teaching and training horses for over 20 years. She moved to Maine 15 years ago, and teaches children and adults.
She said one of her favorite activities with horses is working them through injuries and finding them a new career.
“I enjoy the process of it,” she said. “Taking a horse with not the best path and turning them around and getting them to enjoy their job.”
Because of her extensive experiences with horses, she said that writing from Jellybean’s perspective came naturally to her.
“I’ve been around horses for so long, it’s easy to understand their behavior,” Genthner said.
After showing the book to several mentors, who encouraged her, Genthner self-published the book through PR Gott Books in Norway, which is now available on Amazon and the Barnes and Noble website. It is illustrated by Sanghamitra Dasgupta, an illustrator Genthner found online.
The next installment “Jellybean Finds Friends,” is currently being illustrated by Dasgupta. Genthner plans five or six total books in the series.
“Life is fast-paced, and sometimes we forget to consider our animals when we’re making decisions. It’s important to remember that they have thoughts and feelings,” she said.
She said the books are “for any horse lover out there,” particularly in the range of 6 to 12 years old.
“My hope is that it brings (readers) joy and they start to think about things from the perspective of the horse every once in a while,” Genthner said. “The underlying theme is, there’s no useless horse.”
A meet-and-great and book signing with Jellybean is in the planning stages. For updates, follow @mrsgandjelly on Instagram.