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by Susan Jeffers & illustrated by Susan Jeffers

Pub Date: June 17th, 2008
ISBN: 978-1-4231-0023-2
Publisher: Hyperion

Young Julia, a horse-mad little girl, wants a pony of her own. She saves her pennies and attends the Chincoteague pony auction, but she doesn’t have quite enough. Others in the gathered crowd, seeing her distress, hand her bills, and, when a foal is unexpectedly returned, she makes the winning bid. Some background on the legend of the ponies’ Spanish origins and on the details of Chincoteague’s annual Pony Penning Day helps to fill out this slight tale. Inspired by the author’s childhood fondness for Marguerite Henry’s classic works and an actual Chincoteague pony auction event, this rather bland tale plays up the romantic notion of horse ownership without much consideration for the realities. Moreover, the ink-and-watercolor illustrations pale in comparison to the playful liveliness of Wesley Dennis’s, invoked in the introduction. Stiff compositions, often awkward poses and corny expressions on little Julia’s face combine to make this a visually tepid experience. The large trim and appealing pony on the cover will make kids reach for it, but the contents don’t live up to the packaging. (Picture book. 4-8)