Children's Book Author

Finnegan and Fox: The Ten-Foot Cop

Finnegan and Fox: The Ten-Foot Cop 

  • Illustrator: John Manders
  • Published by Sleeping Bear Press

Finnegan is a horse. But he is not just any horse. Finnegan is a proud member of the New York City Police Department. He and his human partner, Officer T. J. Fox, are part of the NYPD Mounted Unit. Together they make one ten-foot cop! Each morning, after roll call, Finnegan and T. J. take to the streets, a familiar and welcome sight to the people who live in the area. Times Square is their beat and it’s a busy one. More than one million people move through it every day, from New Yorkers on their way to work to the thousands of tourists who visit the popular area. It would be very easy to get lost in this rushing crowd. One day, as Finnegan and T. J. move through a fairly routine day, that’s exactly what happens to one little girl. And it’s Finnegan to the rescue!

It’s a classic New York City buddy-cop story, but one of the officers is 10 years old, weighs more than 1,200 pounds, and has four hooves. Wilbur (F Is for Friend-ship: A Quilt Alphabet) offers a lighthearted tribute to the NYPD’s Mounted Unit, with seen-it-all narration provided by a horse named Finnegan, who patrols Times Square with his partner, Tyrone Jefferson Fox. Despite some wisecracking comments (“Not everyone feels comfortable around a police officer. People can be annoying. But who doesn’t like a horse?”), it’s clear Finnegan takes his job seriously. And after a day spent greeting tourists and neighborhood regulars, he gets a chance to prove his mettle by finding a lost girl. Manders (Cowboy Christmas), working in gouache and pencil, is in fine form, capturing the energy and diversity of the city in his bustling cartoons, as well as the story’s emotional highs and lows—the shadowy blue alley that the lost girl winds up in looks truly scary, and seeing Finnegan the hero’s image on the giant signs of Times Square makes for a fittingly triumphant conclusion.

Publisher’s Weekly (Feb. 2013)

Finnegan and Fox: The Ten-Foot Cop. Wilbur, Helen L. (Author) , Manders, John (Illustrator) Feb 2013. 32 p. Sleeping Bear, hardcover, $16.95. (9781585367849). Narrated by a 10-year-old horse with wide eyes and evident pride in his work, this picture book about a mounted-police unit features a girl lost in Times Square. Don’t worry; it’s not scary—Finnegan is such an upbeat horse-narrator that even the youngest readers will sense that he is coming to the rescue. The story begins with Finnegan introducing himself and his beanpole partner, T. J. Fox. He discusses the people they see on their Times Square beat, including the fruit and vegetable seller, the traffic officer, and tourists from all over. Manders’ cartoonlike watercolors, featuring lots of bulbous noses and toothy smiles, make Times Square seem like a hectic but friendly multicultural universe. When a little girl from Wyoming gets separated from her group, Finnegan and Fox set off to look for her. In an unlikely but picture-book-perfect twist, Finnegan wanders off to look down an alleyway and finds the scared child. His heroics bring him fame—and, even better, an apple. The last page features further mounted-police information, including worldwide use, training, and horse retirement.

— Abby Nolan, Booklist

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