A horse wonders what kind of new shoes she could possibly wear in Scogin’s debut children’s book.
Penny is a bright, curious palomino quarter horse who spends her days playing outside in the grass with her friend, the ranch dog, lapping up water from the stream, and chasing “black and gold butterflies until the sleepy sun hid itself behind the mountains.” It’s a straightforward, easy life until she overhears her owner, Mr. Dollarhide, saying that Penny will be getting new shoes the next day. The little horse, perplexed by what she heard, wonders why a horse would need shoes and thinks about all the types of shoes she’s seen: the 13-year-old son of her owner, for example, has sneakers with wheels; the 19-year-old daughter wears teetering high heels; and Mr. Dollarhide wears “well-worn silver leather cowboy boots with points in the front,” which “looked very comfortable on him.” She imagines her big horse hooves wearing each of the shoes—she would move in four different directions with wheels on her feet, smash the delicate high heels with her heavy hooves, and wouldn’t fit into narrow cowboy boots. The next morning, Mr. Dollarhide shows Penny just what her new shoes look like, and she realizes that they’re just right. This warmly written story, told with humor in Ray’s colorful illustrations and Scogin’s rich, descriptive language, introduces a character that kids will relate to. Penny is energetic and curious about the world and about herself; for example, when she imagines wearing other people’s shoes, she sees how their lives are different from hers but also understands how their shoes work well for them. When she finally receives her own pair of silver horseshoes, it's clear that she’s thrilled—her tail “wiggled, wagged, whipped, and whirled with excitement”—because she has a pair of shoes that’s uniquely hers.
A pleasant story about a curious horse that will spark the imaginations of young readers.