This story takes place over the course of two days. Five year old Andi wants nothing more for her birthday than a full-sized horse. She's tired of her hand-me-down, bumpy-riding pony. Living on a California ranch in the 1800s, all of Andi's siblings have horses of their own - and she's sure she's big enough to have one, too.
But when she makes up her mind to ask Mother for a horse, everything goes wrong. She's not tall enough to get on a horse without help. She doesn't always care for her pony well. Then she messes up an important chore by breaking almost every egg in the hen house.
So when her big brother wants to go riding with her, Andi jumps at the chance to improve the day. And when her brother let's her ride on his horse all the way home, thinking Andi's pony will follow behind, she's delighted. But then her pony disappears and Andi must try to find him on her own.
In the end, Andi learns to be thankful for and more caring toward her pony. She even gets a colt for her sixth birthday. Most importantly, Andi learns she can talk to God, anytime, anywhere.
What I Like: This is a charming little story. It's wholesome without being preachy or old fashioned, and my 5 year old kept begging me to read more. The book made her laugh frequently and she was satisfied by the ending. I appreciate the maturity Andi gained in the story, too.
The Christian content in this book is quite light, lasting less than a page. But the author does a nice job of making Andi's revelation about prayer not just being appropriate at church or at bedtime feel realistic. I also like the page and a half afterward, which asks kids to consider what it would have been like to use horses instead of cars or trucks.
Throughout, there are about 10 black and white drawings (about one per chapter) by Leslie Gammelgaard. They are much better than the cover image, and capture the innocence and humor of Andi very well.
What I Dislike: Some parents may dislike that Andi's friend, Riley (who assists the ranch cook) talks about disliking school. "Wait 'til you start school," he says. "You'll see what I mean." If your child isn't yet in school, this may not be the type of dialogue you appreciate.
Overall Rating: Excellent.
Age Appeal: 4 - 8
Publishing Info: Kregel, 2010; ISBN: 978-0825441813; paperback, 80 pgs., $4.99.
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Special Info: Read our reviews of other Susan K. Marlow novels here. Visit the series website for free coloring pages, free activity packs, and free online puzzles.