From the Publisher
“…simple, straightforward narrative in the pony's voice, combined with Dockray's soft, expressive watercolor and ink illustrations, makes it [the story] truly heartwarming.” School Library Journal
“Readers will appreciate the pony's adventures … Pair with Susan Jeffers' My Pony (2003) for one-on-one sharing with would-be equestrians.” Booklist
Children's Literature - Ken Marantz and Sylvia Marantz
Our narrator is an appealing pony, presented as a gift to a young girl. Happily together, they win jumping competitions. But one day the jump is too high, the girl falls, and her parents tell her that the pony is now too small for her. He is taken away to perform in a circus. He is content working there, but always hopes to see the girl again. Eventually the circus audience declines, the circus closes, and the animals are sold at auction. To his delight the girl, now grown, buys him. She runs a stable where he will be perfect for children who need a small, gentle mount, and will "never be outgrown again." On the jacket from front to back our attention is grabbed by the naturalistic portrait of a pony with a straggly mane and wistful stare. He appears again on the cover in nine framed watercolors in assorted poses. The detailed sequence of single and double-page illustrations and vignettes flesh out the tale with the changing contexts of the pony's life. Those of the circus days in particular and the pony's role there are both dramatic and happy. Green horseshoes on a green background enliven the end pages of this heart-warming story. Reviewer: Ken Marantz and Sylvia Marantz
School Library Journal
PreS-K—The little pony at the heart of this surprisingly affecting story is thrilled when he becomes a little girl's perfect birthday present. He loves jumping and running with her on his back—until the day he encounters a jump too high. The little girl falls, and he is declared too small for her. Her parents sell him to the circus, where he brings joy to thousands of children, but he never forgets his first owner. When the circus closes down and he is sold at auction, who should buy him but the little girl, now an adult and running a stable of her own. In lesser hands, the story would be pure schmaltz, but the simple, straightforward narrative in the pony's voice, combined with Dockray's soft, expressive watercolor and ink illustrations, makes it truly heartwarming.—Kathleen Kelly MacMillan, Carroll County Public Library, MD
A small pony recounts his melodramatic life.
The nameless pony is first given to a little girl on her birthday.They compete over fences and win, until they try a jump thatis "just too high." The girl falls off, and her angry parents sell the pony to a circus, where for years he partners with a dwarf in a clown act. When the circus disbands, the pony, now old, thinand pathetic, is sold at auction. His original little girl, now grown,happens to beat the same auction. She recognizes him, and, of course, they live happily ever after. At 48 text-heavy pages, it's long for a picture book, andthepacesuffers accordingly—several scenes, such as the opening with the pony and hisdam in a field, take up a lot ofpages but don't move the story forward. The emotional tone often feels forced or misplaced,as when the circusfails because the audience "stayed home, playing video games,"and the perspective seems more adult than child-friendly. Dockray's watercolor illustrations are better than her text.Animals and people are both lifelike and full of emotion, and she varies perspective and tone to convey changing moods. Overall, it's hard to see an appropriate audience for this one—small children won't sit through it, older ones will be bored.
You can only say, "Oh, the poor pony!" so many times. (Picture book. 5-8)