When 9-year-old Tori and her 8-year-old sister, Miranda, arrive at their grandmother's Silver Pony Ranch to spend the summer, Tori is immediately smitten with Gran’s new pony, Jewel.
Jewel, however, is livelier than Gran's other ponies, and Tori can't even manage to groom her before the pony misbehaves, let alone ride her. Miranda prefers Gran's dog's puppies to the ponies; the sisters squabble about that and about sharing a room. On the second day of their visit, Tori sneaks out to see Jewel before breakfast and accidentally turns the pony loose—she can't be caught until Gran intervenes. That afternoon, a puppy goes missing after a trail ride; sneaking out to the stables at night to look for it, Tori again leaves Jewel's stall open while braiding a fancy ribbon in her tail. Somehow, Tori's repeated misbehavior inspires Gran to allow her to ride the pony. The puppy comes home, and all ends well. The first in a series designed for chapter-book readers, the story will appeal to pony-crazy girls but appall their safety-conscious parents or anyone who really understands horse behavior. Though Tori narrates, her character seems limited to whining about Jewel.
Certain children will read anything about horses; this book relies too heavily on that fact. (Fiction. 6-8)