This classic Jean Slaughter Doty tale—now with all-new illustrations by Ruth Sanderson—is back in print after more than 20 years for yet another generation of riders to enjoy.
About the Author
Ruth Sanderson has illustrated books for children of all ages. She lives with her family in Ware, Massachusetts, and her favorite hobby is horseback riding.
Read an Excerpt
"Hey, Mokey!" Ginny Anderson ran down the hill. She called cheerfully to her pony. A small bucket of hot mash swung from her hand.
Mokey whinnied in answer. Ginny could hear her through the twilight. Ginny could also hear the sound of quick hoofbeats. She saw Mokey in a blurred pattern of brown and white. Mokey trotted up to the paddock gate.
"Hi, Moke." Ginny stopped to give her pony a quick pat. Then she let herself into the small tack room. It was in the stable, next to the paddock. She turned on the lights and unhooked the narrow door into the stall. Mokey was waiting inside. She was peering into her feed tub. She looked like she was waiting for her supper to appear like magic. Ginny poured the sweet hot mash into the tub. Mokey stuck her muzzle deep into the swirling steam with a sigh of joy.
Ginny left the pony to enjoy her supper in peace. Ginny went to stand for a moment by the open stall door. It led to the paddock next door.
The frosty twilight sky was turning purple. The evening star glowed brightly over a far ridge of trees.
"Star light, star bright," said Ginny. She stopped. There was no need to go on. For years she had wished on every star, ever since she could remember, for a pony of her own. Now she had Mokey, with her brown and white spots, her one blue eye and one brown, her black forelock and white mane and black tail. Mokey was not exactly the beautiful pony of her dreams. But she was a real, live pony.
Mokey was fat now and shaggy. Her winter coat was getting thicker. The new little stable had just been finished. It was painted a deep red with white trim. It smelled like fresh sawdust, drying paint, sweet hay, and pony.
Ginny squinted up at the evening star. It seemed hard to remember how thin and shabby Mokey had been just last spring. She and her mother had found the pony at the Sweetbriar Pony Farm. They rented her just for the summer. But the whole family had become so fond of the pony that they couldn't let her go when the summer ended.
It was getting colder. Ginny shivered. She went outside to close the heavy Dutch doors of the stall to shut Mokey in for the night.
Mokey finished her mash. She slobbered a last happy mouthful over the front of Ginny's jacket. Then she turned to start on her hay. Ginny finished cleaning the stall. She added fresh bedding and filled the water bucket to the brim. The weather report said there would be a hard frost that night. Ginny brought out Mokey's new winter blanket and buckled it on.
"You greedy thing," Ginny said to her pony. "This blanket fit just right when we got it for you. Now I have to loosen the back belt buckle. You're getting fatter every day."
Ginny smoothed the pony's mane. She gave her a loving pat.
"Tomorrow is Saturday," Ginny said. "We can be out all day. And you sure need the exercise to work off some of that tummy!"
Ginny bolted the narrow door behind her as she left the stall. She stood for a happy moment in the tack room. She checked to see that everything was in its place. Bales of hay and shavings for bedding were neatly stacked at the back of the room. The ceiling lights glowed on the dark leather of the halter and bridle. They were on their racks on the wall. Ginny could see the white cotton lead ropes. The buckets and metal storage cans for grain were under the shelf where the brushes and grooming things were kept. The pitchfork, rake, and broom were hung on the wall where they belonged. Ginny was humming softly under her breath. She turned off the lights and latched the door behind her.
Saturday morning was clear and bright. But it was the middle of the morning before Ginny could escape from the house.
"Not an inch," her mother had said firmly. Ginny had given Mokey her morning feed and had finished her own breakfast. "You are not stirring one inch from this house, young lady, until you clean your room! Honestly, Ginny, how can you keep your stable so neat and your room so messy?"
Ginny didn't know, either. She flung her things into her drawers. She made her bed. Feeling a little guilty, she kicked an old notebook under the bed. Cleaning up her room was a chore. Taking care of Mokey was fun.
It was as simple as that.
She snatched her hunt cap from the shelf. Then she tugged on her jacket and finally ran down to the stable.
She was supposed to meet Pam Jennings at her place in fifteen minutes. Ginny brushed Mokey quickly. She gave her a pat. She promised to do a better grooming job the next time. Then she bridled the pony and started on her way.
Mokey knew where they were going. She never minded being ridden alone. But she always liked going out with Pam's chestnut pony, Firefly.
Mokey broke into an eager trot and then into a strong canter. There were patches of silver frost on the shaded path through the woods. The air was crisp with the cold. Mokey gave a happy buck and a kick. She waved her long black tail.
Ginny pulled Mokey back to a quiet walk. They turned into the Jenningses' stable yard. She had expected to see Pam waiting on her pony. But the yard was empty. There were no hoofprints in the smooth raked gravel in front of the wide white doors.
Ginny slipped off Mokey's back just as Pam started to roll back one of the doors.
"Hi!" she said to Ginny. Pam was out of breath. "I thought I heard you coming. Then Firefly started to whinny, so I knew it was you. Come on in."
Ginny led Mokey into the sunlit aisle between the two rows of box stalls. Firefly whinnied again from his stall. Mokey whinnied in answer.