by Sandy Duval
Cute story about Jamie, a boy on a ranch who gets a pony for his birthday. Rather like in Summer Pony, he brings home a thin, scruffy pony with overgrown hooves, even though his father urges him to pick out one of the many well-groomed and healthier horses. This is because he feels sure he heard the pony talking to him at the auction ring, urging him to buy it. It\’s long hard work to get his pony in shape so meanwhile another kid at the neighboring ranch teases him about having acquired a useless pony. Jamie is further frustrated when he can\’t coax the pony to talk again, until he\’s almost certain he dreamed it. He didn\’t- it just doesn\’t want to talk unless there\’s a real need. Well, eventually the pony\’s feet are in better condition and he can ride- so they go on secret night-time adventures. They find a herd of wild horses that the pony originally came from (with a lame explanation for why the pony can talk). The wild horses are finding it difficult to live because ranches surrounding them are fencing off the best pastures and watering places. So Jamie and his pony lead the herd to a safer place- with the help of the kid next door, who gets in on the secret, and Jamie\’s parents (who don\’t). Spoiler! I kind of liked that in the end, things aren\’t perfect for Jamie- the pony goes back to live with the wild horses. But the closing page has Jamie at the auction with his dad again to buy another pony, one that winks at him, suggesting he\’ll soon have a new equine friend.