Read an Excerpt
Magic Pony Carousel #2: Brightheart the Knight's Pony EPB
"Hurry up, hurry up!" Amy tugged at her granddad's sleeve. She could hear lively music floating down the road from the fairground. She had been saving up her allowance for weeks and wanted to go on every single ride!
"All right, love, we're nearly there," her granddad protested, his eyes twinkling.
Amy ran toward the park gates. The music was much louder here, and butterflies of excitement danced in her tummy. What should she go on first? She tried to join the line for a roller coaster that swooped and soared high above the fairground.
But the man taking the money looked at her and shook his head. "Sorry, you're not tall enough. Come back next year!"
Amy felt very disappointed.
Granddad smiled at her and took her hand. "Come on. We can find something else."
They stopped beside a stand where you had to throw plastic hoops over different prizes. Amy was pretty sure she could get a hoop over one of the teddy bears, but she already had loads of them at home. She shook her head. "The teddies are really cute, but there might be something even better!" she explained to Granddad, and he nodded.
"What about that game over there?" Granddad said. "You'd be great at that!"
He pointed to a stand called Beat the Goalie.
Amy ran over to look. You had to kick a soccer ball past a huge balloon goalkeeper and into different holes to score points. Amy loved playing soccer. Yesterday she'd scored the winning goal in a match against her team's hottest rival.
"I'll definitely have a try later," she said, "but I want to go on one of the ridesfirst. Something really special." She smiled up at her granddad. "I just haven't found it yet!"
Granddad grinned back, and they headed off to find the perfect first fairground ride.
Suddenly, there it was.
In a corner of the field, tucked behind a pink-and-white-striped cotton candy stand, stood an old-fashioned pony carousel. It was painted a rich red, with touches of gold and silver, and a scarlet flag fluttered from the pointy golden roof. Gorgeous wooden ponies cantered around and around, rising and falling on twisty golden poles in time to the music. As soon as Amy saw it, she knew this was the perfect first ride.
"Granddad, look at those beautiful ponies!" Amy loved riding even more than playing soccer. Her favorite pony at the local riding stable was a friendly little chestnut mare named Buttons. The carousel ponies looked as lovely as Buttons, kicking up their heels as though they were desperate to be off. They had flowing manes and tails, and their harnesses were highlighted with twinkling gold paint.
Amy ran over to look more closely at the different ponies. There were so many! Each pony's name was painted onto a little scroll that hung from the twisty pole rising from its back. There was a white circus pony called Sparkle, who had feathers nodding on his headdress and a mischievous glint in his eye. Next to Sparkle was a chestnut pony named Star, with a lasso hanging from her saddle...she must be a cowgirl's pony!
But there, just behind Star, was the pony Amy wanted to ride most of all. He was a magnificent dark bay pony with a proudly arched neck and flaring nostrils. He looked noble and adventurous, and his big brown eyes seemed to look straight at Amy, inviting her to climb aboard. His name scroll said Brightheart, and it was the perfect name for him. Amy's favorite book was all about knights and princesses, and Brightheart could have galloped straight out of its pages.
"Hello there! I see you are admiring my beautiful ponies!"
Amy jumped. A tall gentleman was smiling down at her. He looked more like a magician than someone who ran a fairground ride! He wore a red velvet suit, and on his head was a magnificent red-and-green-striped top hat. He bowed to her, sweeping the stripy hat from his head. His jacket flapped open to reveal a flash of lining, brilliant green like a parrot's wing.
"Welcome to Barker's Magic Pony Carousel!" he said.
Amy gasped. "Magic Pony Carousel? Are you sure?"
The showman beamed at her. He had thick white hair that stood up in tufts, but his eyes were young and shone with happiness. "Oh yes, I'm sure. After all, I am Mr. Barker and this is my Magic Carousel. Would you like a ticket?"
"Oh yes, please!" Amy bounced up and down on the balls of her feet, feeling as though she were bubbling over with excitement.
Mr. Barker pulled a stern face, shaking a finger at her...but his eyes were still twinkling! "I have one very important rule on my carousel. You have to ride the pony whose name is on your ticket."
Amy nodded breathlessly. This was so exciting! Which pony's name would be on her ticket? She hoped it would be Brightheart!
Mr. Barker reached into the pocket of his red velvet coat. "Hmm, what do we have here? Ah yes!"
With a flourish, he pulled out a huge bunch of flowers!
"Goodness me!" Mr. Barker looked surprised. "Wherever did those come from? Would you be so kind as to hold them for a moment, sir?"
He handed the flowers to Amy's granddad, who took them with a smile.
"Thank you so much. Now, where did I put that ticket? Aha!" Mr. Barker leaned forward and plucked a little pink ticket from behind Amy's ear. She stared at it in astonishment.
"So that's where you were hiding it," said Mr. Barker, smiling. He handed her the ticket.
Amy looked down at it, hardly daring to read the name. But there it was in beautiful swirly writing.
Brightheart!Magic Pony Carousel #2: Brightheart the Knight's Pony EPB. Copyright © by Poppy Shire. Reprinted by permission of HarperCollins Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved. Available now wherever books are sold.