Pony Island

Overview

The famous wild ponies of Assateague and Chincoteague Island, presented in stunning technicolor.

Centuries ago, a Spanish shipwreck left dozens of horses stranded on Assateague Island, off the coast of Virginia. For years they were free to roam on their new island home without human contact, until the neighboring island, Chincoteague, suffered a series of fires that devastated the town. The volunteer firefighters held a special event to raise money for a new fire truck, and so ...

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Overview

The famous wild ponies of Assateague and Chincoteague Island, presented in stunning technicolor.

Centuries ago, a Spanish shipwreck left dozens of horses stranded on Assateague Island, off the coast of Virginia. For years they were free to roam on their new island home without human contact, until the neighboring island, Chincoteague, suffered a series of fires that devastated the town. The volunteer firefighters held a special event to raise money for a new fire truck, and so began the Wild Pony Swim that continues to this day. This unique American tradition recounted in pitch-perfect rhyme will engage the youngest of readers. These world-famous ponies captured in bright, dynamic colors will sure appeal to any horse lover.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly

Declarative, rhyming phrases accompany striking illustrations in tribute to the enigmatic Chincoteague ponies that live off the Virginia coast. While several explanations for the ponies' presence on the island of Assateague are offered in legends, Ransom (Tractor & Company) presents one of the more dramatic: a Spanish shipwreck. "Big ship wrecks./ Stormy sea./ Cargo horses/ Swimming free." Accentuated by storm light, the ponies meld into the sharp peaks of the waves with an eerie green glow as they struggle for the shore. Across a narrow channel from where they land a seaside town grows over time, smudgy pastels by Zahares (Lucky Jake) suggesting an Impressionist landscape. After a fire, the human settlers must raise money for a new fire truck, and cowboys round up the ponies for auction. Lit by the flaming red sunset, the ponies have a regal demeanor as they "race through town." With the money raised, the town purchases a "shiny engine," and the crowd cheers, "Bring back ponies/ Every year!" A parting image shows the ponies galloping on the beach, "wild and free," at sunrise. Lovely. Ages 4-8. (Apr.)

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School Library Journal

K-Gr 3

The mere bones of the Chincoteague ponies' story is related in brief rhymes. The text touches only slightly on their arrival on the island; without the concluding author's note, readers will be bewildered. Zahares's glowing oil pastels extend and explain through images what Ransom only hints at. Full spreads present a detailed and exciting background for the sometimes-forced rhymes. It is hard to pinpoint the audience for this book, as the text seems suited for preschoolers while it will take older and more astute readers to decipher the meaning of the poetry. Fans of Marguerite Henry's Misty of Chincoteague (S & S, 2006) will pick this up, and it would make a nice unit filler paired with Jim Arnosky's Wild Ponies (National Geographic, 2002) and Susan Jeffers's My Chincoteague Pony (Hyperion, 2008), but it doesn't stand on its own.-Angela J. Reynolds, Annapolis Valley Regional Library, Bridgetown, NS, Canada

Kirkus Reviews
Misty of Chincoteague in rhyme. By now everyone knows the story of the wild Chincoteague ponies-the probably apocryphal shipwreck, the round-up each year, the auction. If not, certainly there are plenty of other available books about it (titles of which are helpfully supplied in a bibliography at the end). Ransom tells the story in staccato stanzas ("Empty island. / Room to roam. / Birds and beaches. / Brand-new home") that scan well, but the clipped phrases don't fully engage the audience. Likewise, Zahares's wild, broad-stroked, bold-colored pastels are visually interesting but don't allow either the ponies or the people to emerge as distinct characters. The shifting perspectives and striking compositions make each full-bleed, double-page spread an adventure in abstraction, the ponies and landscape figuring more as shapes and colors than as parts of a narrative. It's arresting, but somehow ultimately fails to connect. Fine as an addition to large collections, but not as the sole book about Chincoteague. (author's note, resources) (Picture book. 4-8)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780802780881
  • Publisher: Walker & Company
  • Publication date: 3/31/2009
  • Pages: 32
  • Sales rank: 982,059
  • Age range: 4 - 8 Years
  • Product dimensions: 10.90 (w) x 9.80 (h) x 0.40 (d)

Meet the Author

CANDICE F. RANSOM has written over 100 books, including Tractor Day. She received her M.F.A. in writing for children from Vermont College and lives in Fredericksburg, Virginia, with her husband. www.candiceransom.com

WADE ZAHARES has illustrated several children’s books, including Liberty Rising and Window Music, a New York Times Best Illustrated Book. He graduated from the Maryland Institute College of Art, and has been commissioned by HBO, Cinemax, The L.A. Times magazine, Family Circle, and Sesame Street magazine. He lives in Lyman, Maine. www.zahares.com

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