July 2014, Oxford University Press, 192 pages, Paperback, Review copy
Themes: friendship, horse crazy girls, horse thieves,
Content: lots of drama, some humour, tissues needed
Summary from Oxford University Press
Disaster strikes at Meadow Vale Stables! Thieves have stolen three of the horses - including Sam's beloved (but very naughty) pony, Mulberry.
Clever Mulberry escapes, but who is going to believe that Sam can talk to Mulberry and knows where the horse thieves are hiding? Can Mulberry and Sam rescue the missing ponies on their own?
Sam is an extremely spunky and not always entirely rational horse crazy girl, making it no surprise that her emotions run high in this story. I'm not into horses in real life, but I love them in fiction, which is why learning about the horrors that come of horses being kidnapped/stolen had me reaching for tissues as well as the characters. I liked learning the barely there soft side of Meadow Vale's owner, which made one decision Sam made once she was allowed to stay overnight made both Sam and me feel guilty about.
I have to say, I will never look at Shetland ponies in quite the same way! Their involvement in Sam's rescue mission is one of many aspects of the story which was enhanced by the illustrations, which had me giggling away in the middle of intense scenes. The view point switches from horse to human were virtually seamless and there's enough explanations that if you don't know horse terms you would be at a disadvantage. This is the 3rd book in the Meadow Vale Ponies series, yet the first one I've read, so I'll certainly be putting the rest on my wish list! The reason it didn't get an E is that it didn't quite have that extra sparkle which the 10E merits.
Find out more on Che's website.
For another horse mad girl check out the start to one of my favourite pony stories, Katy's Wild Foal by Victoria Eveleigh (Children's, 7 years +, 10E/10E)