A 10-year-old girl journeys with a magical Dream Pony to meet Santa and help spread belief in Christmas magic in this full-color illustrated chapter book for early elementary readers.
Julie, the younger of 10-year-old twins, is adjusting to life in her new home with the help of a Dream Pony, Algonquin, she discovered in the attic. The stuffed pony magically transforms into a life-sized, colorfully speckled pony, accompanied by a Jiminy Cricket–like guardian, Mickey Bright, a spider. (Julie recalls an earlier adventure when she met the pair, though no previous title is available.) Algonquin and Mickey Bright arrive at Julie’s side the week before Christmas to take her on a journey to the North Pole. Dressed in magically provided snow gear, Julie hops on Algonquin’s back as the Dream Pony flies her north. First, they encounter the gray wolf leader, Baron, who tries to intimidate them, but they easily escape. Next, they meet Great Maximus, leader of the polar bears, who welcomes them in his territory and explains that most children, at the age of 10, lose the ability to see Santa Claus because they begin to stop believing in magic. Algonquin takes a rest when the trio catches a ride on the icebreaker Benedict after encountering some penguin musicians (who have no business being in the Northern Hemisphere). An encounter with the friends’ old nemesis Magnifico—wearing a turban—is easily won, giving Julie plenty of time to solve Santa’s problem of children growing too old for him; a timely Internet petition plays a part. The illustrations suit the mood of the story and are spread out frequently enough to balance the text-dense chapters. All of Julie’s hurdles seem defeated by others and easily overcome, until Julie finally takes the lead saving Santa. Some worldbuilding issues may leave readers at a loss—Julie seems to be gone for several days, but her family doesn’t notice?—but many will find the multicolored magic pony enchanting.
A meandering chapbook low on conflict, with a young, cleverly modern narrator.