Much honored for her realistic fiction (On My Honor, Newbery Honor Book, 1987; Rain of Fire, Jane Addams Peace Award, 1984), Bauer here presents an unusual fantasy. Counting on the horse she believes her father said she would have for her 11th birthday, Jennifer is bitterly disappointed to receive instead a promise of riding lessons plus a china horse that he treasured as a boy. But the gift is more than she first believes: the tiny figure becomes a palomino stallion, visible only to her--not her imagined Pretty Girl but Moonseeker, beautiful but arrogant and as full of irrational fears as a real, untrained two-year-old horse. He can also talk, and his conversation with Jennifer (a worthy successor to Alice) is delightfully funny. They set out on an adventure; she learns how little she knows about riding (having only pretended aboard a spruce branch) and twice must rescue Moonseeker, once when he tries to jump across the river and again when he wanders into a cave and is paralyzed by claustrophobia; Jennifer helps him with courage and ingenuity. Is he real, or pretend? With winning pathos, Moonseeker admits that he's not sure. On Jennifer's return, he dissolves into mist; but Jennifer finds that Dad already knows his name and understands how marvelous her adventure has been. ""If wishes were horses, then beggars would ride,"" but every child has an imagination. Jennifer finds out how to harness hers in this brief, suspenseful fantasy about self-reliance and self-knowledge. For horse lovers and fantasy lovers, among others; a good read-aloud.