Thursday, October 9, 2008

Friday Book Review: a two-fer!

I promised something a bit more recent - or at least less historical - this week. Since I couldn't resist taking either of these home from the library with me based on the covers, and I wasn't disappointed, I though they'd do nicely for this week's review(s).

Runaway Radish by Jessie Haas
Radish is a GOOD bad pony. As long as he has a not-too-big little girl to teach the ropes of riding to, he's happy.

But where's a pony to go when all the little girls keep getting too big and abandoning him for larger mounts? Why out the gate and down the road, of course! But the world is a big, scary place with no girl to guide you. Poor Radish - but don't worry, there's a happy ending in store!

I was sniffling by the end. And if you had your very own Radish at home to teach you all about the scariness of puddles, the importance tight knots, fly spray, sturdy shoes and latching gates - or even if you didn't - you may find yourself doing the same. This is a perfect easy reader for that budding horse-lover who's just learning to read, and it wouldn't make a bad read-aloud for bed-time either. The illustrations are charmingly done. Radish is quite a character.
And If you like Radish, you'll get a kick out of Jigsaw, as well....

Jigsaw Pony by Julie Haas
Twins Fran and Kiera can't agree on anything - except that they want a horse, very badly. When their mail man father arrives home with a small black and white pony in the back seat of his car, they're thrilled.

Except they have to share! Even with charts to divide chores and spaghetti straws for determining turns, explosions threaten over who gets to muck his stall first, carry water and take the first ride.

Jigsaw does his very best to please the girls. But something is not quite right with their pony.... something even lots of love may not be able to correct. Can Fran and Kiera work out their differences for Jigsaw's sake?

Haas has written another lovely pony book. Although Jigsaw is perhaps a bit too accommodating to be believed - the backseat of the car? The stump dismount? But it's true ponies certainly do learn to put up with a lot from their little girls. I should know - among other things, I dressed my first pony up in a Thoroughbred-size blanket (it dragged the ground) tied it on with twine, and decorated him with flowers. And a friend once brought her pony to tea, where he was the perfect gentleman. (We were in college at the time, and he walked up six steps and into the hallway to enjoy his oatmeal cookies and some carrots stolen from the house kitchen.)

The woven wire fence the illustrator depicts didn't thrill me, but Jigsaw himself is adorably true to pony-type. Minor details aside, this is another wonderful, well-illustrated, easy reader book for young girls with a love of horses. And yes, I was sniffly when I finished it.
So there you have it. Two for this week, for girls a bit younger than thirteen, or old enough to remember when their own Radish taught them a thing or two about respect for cute fuzzy things with four very hard feet and minds of their own. (And I know at least three little girls who WILL be getting their very own copies for Christmas!)

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