Molly wants a horse of her own, but money is tight in the Moore household, making it unlikely that she'll ever realize her dream. When the sale of an old tractor brings in a windfall, Mr. Moore resolves to buy a present for her tenth birthday. They come away from the weekly horse auction, however, with a skinny, mangy-looking old mare, not the young steed Molly has always envisioned. Back home, Lady Sue is a pleasant surprise; she is not young, but she is a fine, intelligent, well-trained animal. The ""weight"" Lady Sue puts on turns out to be a foal, and the foal turns out to be a mule, a beautiful, longhaired male with whom Molly falls in love, and whom she proudly names Brown Sunshine of Sawdust Valley. Brown Sunshine proves to be such a quick study that he's chosen to be King Mule at the county's annual Mule Day Celebration. Vintage Henry (Misty's Twilight, 1992, etc.)--a lighthearted version of the old girl-meets-horse story; only this time, the horse is a mule. That fact will send readers to their encyclopedias to find out more about these much-maligned animals. Shields's black-and-white drawings bring warmth to the story.