Pettersen’s (A Scandalous Husband, 2014, etc.) children’s novella asks: What happens when a girl wants a horse more than anything?
Suzy Jenkins is a 6-year-old girl who wants a pony for Christmas. She’s come to understand that Santa just isn’t sure whether she could handle taking care of such an animal. However, she’s done her research, and she’s believes she’s more than ready to take on the responsibility when Santa finally brings her small horse. “She’d been preparing for a pony for a long time, and everything was ready now,” Pettersen writes. “Their little yard already had a picket fence and a shed.” Despite Suzy’s mother’s reminder to be practical and not to ask for too much, and other people in her life recommending that she lower her expectations, Suzy is firm in her belief that Christmas morning will bring her heart’s desire. As the holiday season progresses, she continues to get ready. She also charms Mr. Barrett, who owns a ranch and many racing horses, and Carl, an elderly man who appears not to have a home. In the end, Suzy finds herself at the center of a series of events that mends one family and helps to create a new one. Over the course of this book, it becomes clear that the story is primarily about different kinds of love—between Suzy and her mother, Suzy and Carl, and between Suzy’s mother and Mr. Barrett. Pettersen’s choice to tell the story through Suzy’s eyes makes it charming from start to finish. The budding romance between Suzy’s mother and Mr. Barrett is understated, and Suzy’s kindness to Carl is presented as a young girl doing her best to be good. Pettersen supplies hints of tragic pasts for many of the characters, but they’re softened when seen through Suzy’s young eyes. Overall, the story goes by quickly and is a comforting, pleasurable read.
A delightful book about kindness, family, Christmas miracles—and ponies.