Cover Image: Pony


Pub Date:   |   Archive Date:

Member Reviews

This is a beautifully written, unusual and unique story that really surprised me in many ways. From the cover of the book and the title I was expecting a Black Beauty-esque tale of a boy and his interesting horse but this was not the case. Pony is a coming of age story about a young man whose Father has a secret past that catches up with him one day when he is taken away by criminals leaving our young hero alone apart from a strange Pony that decides to stay with him and the ghostly figure that is his constant companion. He decides to set out and rescue his Dad and from there the adventure arises. Nothing is what it seems in this 19th century western/supernatural adventure and I loved every moment of it.
Was this review helpful?
Absolutely adored this book. It read like a young Willy Vlautin.
Such a departure in style from Wonder, but doesn't leave you feeling at a loss. 
Strength to strength, I've been enjoying recommending this to customers.
Was this review helpful?
A very different book to ‘Wonder’ , although clearly a Palacio novel due to the underlying theme of love and the warm seam of kindness that runs through it.
The main character, Silas, can only  watch as his father is forced from their home one night. The men had turned up intending to take Silas until his father persuades them otherwise. Later,?yhe pony the men had brought with them for Silas to ride finds its way back to Silas’ home,  and he sees this as a sign that he should look for his father, so he sets off in pursuit.

The novel is set in 1860 - it has clearly been carefully researched and is written in the language of the time. As well as the opening kidnapping there is another violent scene- although this fits within the plot I would therefore recommend this novel for years 6 and above. Thanks to Netgalley for my ARC copy.
Was this review helpful?
Not what I was expecting from the author of Wonder but one that I will be adding to my school library. The story of Silas, left alone after his father is taken away, just him and his ghostly companion. Until a pony mysteriously turns up…..
Was this review helpful?
Wonder. What a read that was. I feel as though when you pick up a book by an author that has created such a masterpiece that is Wonder, you just know you're going to be in for a good experience. 

This is a great (and I do not say this often about this genre) historical fiction that is put together so well for the younger target audience. 

This is a book that follows a young boy, SIlas, on his mission to rescue his father. He goes on this journey with only a ghost as his companion, and a pony as his guide. On his way, he is forced to face his fears to uncover the secrets of his past and explore the unfathomable mysteries of the world around him. 

The story is narrated by SIlas as a young adult but is mostly narrated from his 12-year-old self. The writing style is nothing like I have ever experienced before and is totally different to the writing style of Wonder. I thought this story had a pretty slow start, but you eventually get drawn into Silas' journey to find his father. I am not a huge fan of Historical Fiction, but the fact that this was targeted to middle grade readers probably made it slightly more accessible for me. 

I liked the added authors notes at the end that included recommendations for further reading. I think that will really benefit the target audience of this book (and maybe even myself)! 

Thank you so much to NetGalley and Penguin Random House Children’s UK for an ARC of this in exchange for an honest review!
Was this review helpful?
Set in America in the 19th century, Silas witnesses his father being taken away by strangers. When a mystery pony enters his life, he sees is as a sign to search for his father.  Silas has the company of an imaginary friend / ghost on the adventure. Like so many who have read this book, it was not the usual story that I would read and at first I stopped reading this book only to be intrigued and return to it at a later date  I am extremely glad that I resumed and journeyed with brave Silas and discovered R. J. Palacio’s story of family, hope, and love.

Thank you for this ARC in exchange for an honest review.
Was this review helpful?
Thankyou to Puffin and Netgalley for allowing me to read an Arc of this. 

I’m not sure I was expecting from Pony, have read Wonder totally blown away by it. Pony is completely different from his usual work. 
This powerful novel, which is filled with themes of friendship, family love and loyalty, with bandits and baddies, and friendly spirits galore.

At first, as I read the initial pages I was slightly put off as it had a Western feel to it, a genre I usually don't go for. 

This is a psychospirital historical fiction about grief.

Silas's father was a bootlegger who invented daguerreotypes, which is the concept of transferring images to paper.
Palacio has used real daguerreotypes and ambrotypes as chapter openers with elements of some of the characters.
Was this review helpful?
Historical heart-tugger, powerful story.

Whether or not you know (and inevitably loved) Wonder, this is one to judge on its merits separately. Though it shares heart with its predecessor, you would not recognise its author as that of Auggie's story.

While I chose this based on the author's name, I was also intrigued by the premise and historical setting. In a backwoods-type setting, a father and son live in relative peace, the son learning science and astronomy, photography and history from a well-read and erudite parent. Until the night his father is taken by men on horses, leaving Silas alone and scared for his father.

Setting out on the horse that makes it way back to his home, Silas determines to track the men down and save his father, with the strange horse and his imaginary friend Mittenwool for company and guidance.

And so begins an adventure of bravery and discovery. Silas has much to learn about his father, his own history, and just what he is capable of.

I could picture each of these chapters in front of me on a screen, there are some wonderful characters here, alongside the mysteries of the overtly-smart horse and the imaginary friend who seems able to interact and view the world as something much more.

There's a blurring of genres here, with Westerns, supernatural stories, family mysteries, all showing their hands. It's also a bit of a heart-breaker at times and one that gives right to the last.

Loved Silas, I wanted more of his Dad who I actually felt was rather fanciable from the little I saw of him. I would love this to be made into a film or series, and I also hope this gives younger readers a taste for learning about the original techniques of telescopy and photography that Silas and his Dad use. Well-researched and an exciting, enveloping read from Palacio.

For ages 11 and above.

With thanks to Netgalley for providing a sample reading copy.
Was this review helpful?
I’m not sure I was expecting of or from Pony, having enjoyed but not been totally blown away by Wonder. But wow! What a powerful novel. Filled with themes of friendship, family love and loyalty, with bandits and baddies, and friendly spirits galore.

The writing feels much more mature than Wonder, and despite having a setting which requires a little suspension of disbelief (Silas is able to see and speak with spirits), the sense of place is beautifully realised and characters well  rounded.

Despite the cover this is definitely not a Black Beauty style story, it’s more historical, Western style. It is also emotive and well worth your time and effort to read. I don’t often reread but can imagine I will return to Pony in a few years time.
Was this review helpful?
This is a complete departure from Wonder but still a great read. I love the form of the story telling and the setting
Was this review helpful?
Loved this. It was really well written and the plot was well paced. 

I think my students would enjoy this - especially how we could link it to empathy
Was this review helpful?
When three shady-looking men come for Silas Bird's father in the middle of the night, calling him by an unfamiliar name, he offers to go quietly if they leave Silas at home. When the little horse the men brought for Silas to ride, returns alone, Silas figures that the horse can lead him to his Pa. Thus begins Silas' trek to find his father accompanied by Mittenwool, a ghost only he can see and hear, and the white-faced Arabian called, simply, Pony. Though no one ever believes him, Silas can see and talk with ghosts, which is sometimes a good thing and sometimes not, especially in the fragile years just after the American Civil War when there are a lot of ghosts about.. Silas meets up with a grizzled lawman chasing down the outlaw gang of counterfeiters and falls in with him as they travel through a scary wood getting ever closer to the outlaws and - Silas hopes - Pa. Bordering on the luiterary edge of fantasy, this is not my usual type of read, but I enjoyed the lyrical prose and Silas' story voice. It's a story about connections and love, (though it's not a love story).Recommended.
Was this review helpful?
LOVE R J PALACIO, LOVE WONDER, LOVE THIS! Will be recommending this to everyone this Christmas! Silas' mother dies in childbirth, his father is abducted, and has a ghost normal sounding blurb...a drama filled western full of adventure and all the emotions! What a treat, so worth waiting the time between this and wonder for this!
Was this review helpful?
This gentle bildungsroman has all the wonderful characterization we saw in Wonder with a loveable main male protagonist with plenty of courage, whom I rooted for throughout the book. An adventure following a plucky boy in rural America during 1860, I didn’t expect to love the character and setting as much as I did but the richly drawn depictions of both transported me into the story. The depth of detail about early photography lifted this out of the ordinary for me and although I’m not sure who it is aimed at, it doesn’t talk down to the reader despite this interesting focus.
Was this review helpful?
Whilst I know of Wonder, I haven't read it.   This book sounded good and certainly seemed to be making waves on social media.  However, I found it difficult to get into, and didn't manage to complete.   I clearly know others have found it worth reading.
Was this review helpful?
What an imaginative and brilliant book. Very unique and I am still in awe as to how the author was able to create this beautiful story. There is a real lack of strong older middle-grade books but this definitely is the perfect addition to this sparse category.
Was this review helpful?
When Silas Bird wakes in the dead of night, he watches powerlessly as three strangers take his father away. Silas is left shaken, scared and alone, except for the presence of his companion, Mittenwool . . . who happens to be a ghost. But then a mysterious pony shows up at his door, and Silas knows what he has to do. So begins a perilous journey to find his father - a journey that will connect him with his past, his future, and the unknowable world around him.

A wonderfully written book about love, kindness and the journey Silas goes on .
Was this review helpful?
An absolutely wonderful read!

Silas Bird is 12 years old and living alone with his father, when one evening his father is taken away by three men against his will.

In the morning a Pony appears and Silas decides the best thing to do is to go in search of his father.

Setting off with nothing more than the Pony, a ghostly friend and his late mother’s violin, he embarks on a life changing journey.

A wonderful tale of love, loss, friendship and the understanding that those who are no longer with us, never really leave us.
Was this review helpful?
I read this thanks to NetGalley as an advanced copy and hadn’t rushed into starting it. I was initially attracted to this book as my children had read Wonder and enjoyed it and I wanted to see if this would be a good read for them. At first, as I read the initial pages I was slightly put off as it had a Western feel to it, a genre I usually hate. I am so glad I kept going. The novel is utterly beautiful and contains so many different ideas and fantastic moments all woven together in a neat story so you’d almost be forgiven for not noting how complex the writing is. This book is at once exciting and heartbreaking; perfect for children and adults alike (and you don’t need a child with you to excuse your enjoyment!)

The characters are well plotted and realistic and there was some really complicated research that is explained clearly without any sense of being patronising. I am ready to go out and buy a copy for anyone and everyone I know who has a birthday this year! It is rare I start a book intending for a casual read and find myself hooked and filled with awe and (sorry…) wonder. This will stay with me for a long time and I was really sad once I raced to the end that it was over. I can’t wait to get my hands on a hard copy. I very rarely give five stars in reviews but this is much deserved.
Was this review helpful?
Pony seems a radical departure from Palaccio’s Wonder, which I loved and enjoy teaching.  

It’s historical fiction, of a setting and genre  (mid 19th century American, outlaws, horses, ghosts) I’m not normally drawn to.  12 year old Silas’ father is kidnapped by a gang of counterfeiters and he sets out to find him accompanied only by his mysterious imaginary friend/ghost Mittenwool and Pony, the horse which escapes from the gang.

It did take me a while to get into the story, probably but about a third of the way in I was hooked, and didn’t want it to end.   In the author’s note Palaccio outlines a backstory for two of the characters who appear in the second half of the novel, a sheriff and his deputy, noting that this was unnecessary to the plot, but she really liked them as characters.  I too could have read much more about them, or about Silas’ later life, or his father’s mysterious past.  

These characters were the strengths of the novel for me, but I feel other readers will enjoy other aspects, like the ghosts, the outlaws etc. more than I did.
Was this review helpful?