[Book Review] I Want a Pony (Pony Pals, #1) by Jeanne Betancourt



Do you love ponies? Be a Pony Pal!

Lulu wants a pony. If only she had a pony, then staying with her grandmother while her father is away would not be so bad. If she had a pony, she could ride with Pam and Anna. And then they could be friends--Pony Pals!

When Lulu finds a pony in danger, she wants to help the wounded animal. Will she be able to save the beautiful pony?

Pony Pals is yet another series I read as a young girl (I read a lot as a child, yes), but I don't remember it nearly as fondly as some of the others I've reviewed recently. Rereading it, I can see why; I Want a Pony isn't exactly a spectacular book.

Let me start off by saying that, honestly, some of my dissatisfaction with this reread is tactile. Seriously. The copy of I Want a Pony that's currently sitting in front of me is a library copy from 1994. The pages are rough and yellow/browning with age, and I think it actually had the weird effect of making the book seem stuffier and less alive than it would have if the copy had been freshly published on crisp, smooth, white paper.

Of course, I can't blame it all on that. The simple fact of I Want a Pony is that the first half of the book is dull. Lulu doesn't want to live with her grandmother in Wiggins. Lulu wants a pony. Lulu wants to be friends with the girl next door, who has a pony. Lulu sneaks visits to the pony next door, Acorn. Lulu spies on the girl next door, Anna, and her pony-riding friend, Pam. Lulu does this. Lulu does that. Lulu does nothing of particular interest.

Then, finally, she does something to get the plot going about halfway through. She stumbles across a pony that's been hurt--one that she's visited before and has immediately bonded with--and the real plot of the book begins. Snow White, the pony, belongs to Baxter family; the daughter and mother love the pony, but the daughter's away at boarding school. The father is an asshole who cares more about his wallet than the live of an innocent creature and demands that the non-life-threateningly injured Snow White be euthanized on the assumption that she won't be a prize winner anymore, which is absolutely stomach-churning... and yet this is the second time I've seen it happen in as many child-targeted horse series.

Anyway, I'm sure it's no spoiler to say that Snow White is not euthanized. And, since the series title is Pony Pals, it also shouldn't come as a surprise to anyone that Lulu and Snow White join the other two girls and two ponies to form the sextet of friends.

If you happen to have one of those little girls or boys who's in their pony, horse, and unicorn phase, I Want a Pony definitely isn't the worst choice you can make. When I was part of the target audience, I genuinely didn't notice the dull monotony of the first half of the book nor how the ending would inevitably be happy; it shouldn't entertain the age group and/or reading level it's meant for, and it's a long enough series that it will probably last a child through their horse phase, assuming they don't binge.

I'm going to keep reading through it (most of them, I think, will be rereads for me), and I assume that afterwards, I'm going to branch off into other horse-centric series (Saddle Club, Thoroughbred, Phantom Stallion, etcetera). It's not a genre I'm particularly fascinated by, but there's no harm in sampling.

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