Cover Image: Pony


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Member Reviews

I received this book from NetGalley in exchange for my honest review
I have loved Wonder so I had to read the following book by Palacio. 
While is a completely different type of book, including the genre I must say that this book hasn´t disappointed me in the least. 
Silas is only 12 when his dad is taken by three strangers one night and he´s left on his own. The only companion he has is a ghost. Mittenwool. 
So when a horse shows up at his house, he decides that his dad is in danger and he has to go for him. 
Past and present are mixed while telling the story. 
It is a magical realistic book, very adventurous and I will definitely buy it for my library.
When I read the blurb I didn´t know what to expect but once I  started reading it I couldn´t stop. It is quite fast paced and full of adventures and mystery. 
All the characters Silas meets during the search of his dad are very likeable. 
I did really enjoy this book. 
Thank you again to Netgalley and RJ Palacio for allowing me to read it before being published.
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Silas's father is taken by men on horseback in the middle of the night. Soon after he sets out on a journey to rescue his father on a pony accompanied at first by his friend Mittenwool and later by a crotchety old US Marshall. Silas is able to see and speak to dead people and their journey is often sidetracked by the ghosts that he meets along the way. It's not as creepy as it sounds, Silas tries to help as many of the ghosts that he can. Silas discovers rumours about his father during his journey and begins to question his background through these stories and flashbacks of his childhood. 
This is a lovely story, heartbreaking and simple. You'll love it!
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Wonder is my favourite book in the entire world so once i saw Palacio had wrote this i jumped at the chance to read this & was so excited to have been accepted. This one was much different however, Palacio in this one includes a mix of history, geography and folklore in this spellbinding tale. The metaphorical element of the little boy ghost broke my heart. The variation of adventure, ghost and coming of age elements throughout the story was all tied together so well & written absolutely beautifully. I’ll be recommending this.
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I absolutely loved this gripping new novel by R. J. Palacio. (It’s not at all like ‘Wonder’- in case you asked. I think it’s more complex and I would recommend it to a slightly older age group.)

Set in 1860, Ohio, 12-year old Silas lives with his father, a brilliant inventor and photographer, way out in the sticks. Their quiet and peaceful life is suddenly shattered when a gang of counterfeiters rides up to the farmstead and kidnaps Pa.
Silas is instructed to stay safe and wait but when on the next morning a strange looking pony arrives, he feels it in his bones that he just has to go and find his father. 
Silas has to muster all his courage and overcome his fears to track the gang through the forbidding forest. Fortunately, he is not all alone. He has got a spirit companion and the strange looking pony carrying him safely through all kinds of danger.

The story is fast-paced, full of adventure and peril but shadowed by deeper subjects like grief and loss. There are also ghosts and although this at first feels strange, I loved that Palacio trusts her readers and doesn’t overexplain. It all eventually becomes clear.

I found this book wonderfully immersive. The characters leap off the page and it has got a strong wild west feel with all the hardships and dangers but human decency winning out in the end.
To me, this novel already feels like a children’s classic.
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Like many other reviewers, I loved Wonder. So even before I picked up Pony I was disposed to love it, but also afraid that it wouldn't fulfil my expectations. 

It's a completely different kind of book to Wonder, which reset my reading judgement (a good start) It's a historical novel, set in America. One night, Silas and his father are visited by some men who abduct his father. They are supposed to take Silas, too, but his father manages to avoid this. 

Once they've gone, against strict instructions, Silas sets out on a hunt to find his father, led by a mysterious pony and a ghost companion. 

Another unusual book, it's part adventure, part western, part ghost with a dollop of photography details - very engrossing.
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I requested an ARC of this book simply because I’d enjoyed the authors previous book, Wonder, so much. I realised within a paragraph or two that this was a completely different type of book. It’s historical fiction mixed in with a western sort of theme. 

Silas lives with his father, a talented photographer in a secluded house. His mother died in childbirth and his best friend is Mittenwool who we soon learn is a ghost or spirit. One evening three men on horseback arrive at the property and demand that Silas’ father Martin go with them to see a notorious criminal. But they keep calling him Mac Boat. After his father is taken, Silas sets off on a journey through the woods in his pursuit, on Pony, one of the gang’s horses who had become separated from the pack. With only Pony and Mittenwool as his companions, will Silas ever see his father again? 

When I first realised how different this book was from Wonder, I wasn’t sure I would enjoy it. I was wrong. The writing is masterful and you can’t help but be swept into the story. We meet wonderful characters and each of them is carefully described. 

For the age of the children it’s written for, there is some sophisticated vocabulary and technical key words, but unless children are exposed to these words, how will they learn them? There were a couple of photography words that were completely new to me, which I always enjoy. I think the intrigue of the story will appeal to all children and I hope they all love Silas, Pony and Mittenwool as much as I do. 

Thank you to NetGalley and the publishers for my copy of this book.
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Silas is unlike other boys: he has survived a lightning strike and has an imprint of the tree that he was under at the time like a photo on his back.  In addition, he can see and hear spirits, and has a companion called Mittenwool who is invisible to everyone else.  Living with his father, a bootmaker and experimental photographer a little way outside of a small town in the mid 1800s, his life is changed forever one night when three men arrive at their home and demand that “Mac Boat” and his son accompany them to the headquarters of their boss, Roscoe Ollerenshaw.  They have even brought horses for them to ride on the journey.  At first Silas’s father, Martin Bird, refuses, but eventually agrees to go with them alone, vowing to be back in a week.   Silas is very uneasy, and when the pale faced horse returns unexpectedly, he sees it as a sign to go after his father with only a half-reluctant Mittenwool for company.  Falling in with a bounty hunter on the trail of Ollerenshaw, he learns what his father will be required to do, and sets out to rescue him.
Silas has always been shielded from others, since being teased and bullied in his first experience of school, but working with Sheriff Chalfont and his deputy he feels accepted and valued and recognises the good in other people.  The brilliantly described nineteenth century Ohio setting gives the feel of a western, and the action scenes are brought to life so effectively that they ran like a film through this reader’s head.  Silas's rescue mission uncovers the truth about his father, his mother’s family and Mittenwool, but ultimately it is a journey of self-discovery, with what makes us all unique individuals and learning to look forward with positivity and self-belief.  A wonderful book with memorable characters and a gripping plot in a beautifully realised and thoroughly believable world – I enjoyed it immensely.
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This is a completely different to Wonder, which I loved - and I loved this one as much.  The characters come alive and I was with Silas all the way. I loved the fact he can see ghosts and the stories we learn behind his parents and the origins of Mittenwool.  The story is great too, full of adventure, although I didn't expect the violence towards the end, which might come as a shock to some children after what has been a fairly gentle read until then.  A good story though and beautifully written.
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Silas Bird awakes one night to find his Pa has been taken by three men. Silas' best friend is a ghost who helps him try and find his Pa and urges him to keep his presence a secret. I was excited to read this as I'm a big fan of Wonder but it didn't quite live up to expectations. It's aimed at a younger audience but I didn't find the story very interesting and I was glad it was a quick read.
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A macho, gun-slinging, horse-loving western, with all the human heart and tenderness of Wonder. I read it one sitting and can't wait to put it in customers' hands - I was so impressed it is featured in our Christmas catalogue.
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Having loved Wonder I was really looking forward to reading this book. Unfortunately I just could not get into it, I found it didn't flow for me and felt awkward to read. I have read many glowing reviews so it is probably just not for me.
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R.J. Palacio’s subversive brilliance from Wonder shines a little less brightly in Pony. Pony by R.J. Palacio is a modern classic about a boy named Silas on a quest to rescue his father, with only a ghost as a companion and a mysterious pony as his guide. 

Wonder showed children across the world to choose kind. Pony will show children across the world to choose courage. The writing style is easy-read and perfect for a children’s book, however it is not quite vivid enough to transport you straight into Silas’s world. I enjoyed the bouncy nature of it and Palacio has successful turned a supposedly spooky mystery into something easily accessible for children that is actually light hearted and fun. I also particularly enjoyed the shorter chapters as I felt this increased the accessibility for children. Unfortunately, I did DNF Pony half way through part 3 as personally, I did not care for Silas as a character because I felt he was underdeveloped. I much preferred and enjoyed his witty ghostly sidekick, Mittenwool. Due to this less than relatable protagonist, I had no desire to reach the end of the book and find out the end of the mystery, which is why I chose to DNF. 

From what I did read, however, I believe this book would be perfect for 9-12 year olds who are starting to get into slightly more adult themes in books (a mystery) but who do not expect to connect with the main protagonist, as I wanted to. 

Overall, it shines less bright than Wonder but still a perfectly admirable children’s book.
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A quirky twist on the traditional Western stories ( as a child, I loved watching on television with my Grandad), Silas and Pony took me on a spell binding ride through hostile terrain, encountering the villains as well as curious characters who will pique children’s interest, I loved Mittenwool! 
Rich description of brave adventure, delving into a kaleidoscope of emotions. This is a perfect novel to share and discuss with children, reaching into teenage years too.
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If you've read any of my other book reviews, you'll already know that every book I read and review starts off with the full 5 stars and the hope that they are all fully standing firm by the end of the book.

Let's get started on this book, yeah?

I'm already confuzzled... there seem to be sections then chapters within each section that the numbering re-starts at 1 again, so if I'm already confused then it doesn't look good already, right?  I'm going into it with an open mind (and a mouthful of choccie biccies for my lunch lol) and will be happy to be proved wrong by the author and publisher.

Ah right, so the "chapters" within each section are more like scenes than chapters.  That fifth star is still in place, but the author should have chosen different words several times unless it's a book for older teens??  Just checked and apparently it's for 9-11 year olds and there's no way that they would understand some of the word choices, so that star is coming off after all.

It's such a boring book that I've skipped half way through it now and something pretty big seems to have happened in the pages I've skipped over but I'm really not feeling motivated to go back and read them, so would a child feel the same way?  I'm knocking off another star 'cos of flicking so far ahead, so we're down to three stars now unfortunately.

It hasn't gotten any better, so I've skipped even farther ahead now, unfortunately.

I give up... I've skipped through more than I've read because it's so dull, but the publisher obviously spotted something I've missed, but I can't help how I feel about this book.  It's a very reluctant 3 stars unfortunately.
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Silas Bird is a troubled young man who has had to live with difficulties throughout his life. He can see ghosts and people in 1800’s America certainly don’t understand. His constant companion is Mittenwool who helps him in all sorts of situations. Silas’ mother died when he was born and he lives with his father, Martin. When a group of men come & take his father away, thinking he is the elusive Mac Boat, Silas embarks on an adventure in his attempt to find his father - helped along the way by Mittenwool & Pony.
This story keeps you guessing about what will happen & the ending is one which ties up many loose ends.
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Wow. I didn’t expect to like this book this much. Probably my favourite read of 2021 so far. 

I loved Wonder and was expecting a degree of disappointment, but I think this is possibly even better. It is just so different in terms of its theme. In theory it’s probably a historical novel. In practice, it’s just an amazing coming of age story. 

Can’t wait to see what’s next from the author in the future <3
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I was intrigued to read this new book by the author of Wonder - what would it be like? I wasn't sure what to expect, but it certainly wasn't this - an historical American ghost story - completely different to the very contemporary Wonder.

Silas can see ghosts - that's what makes him different, and in a way he is like Auggie here. Being different makes life difficult and so Silas, like Auggie, doesn't go to school. But his solitary life at home with his father and friend Mittenwool is brought to an abrupt end when armed men in horseback arrive one night and take his father away. When Pony returns, Silas and Mittenwool set off to find him - it's as if Pony was sent to lead the way. Their journey takes many twists and turns and the story ultimately goes beyond this original quest, exploring themes of friendship, history and truth. Photography is important to the story and I also really enjoyed reading the author's notes on photography and spiritualism.

A heart-warming read - Silas is an innocent, but brave and resilient, and I love Mittenwool - which I enjoyed reading, but I don't think this is likely to have the same broad appeal of Wonder.

I remain slightly puzzled about the title of this book. Pony is a lovely pony, no doubt about it, but Silas's real friend is Mittenwool and Pony is not nearly as interesting or important to the story.
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This is a simply wondrous book for children and adults alike. I wasn’t sure whether I’d like it based on the description, but I was hooked from the first page and finished it in one sitting because I couldn’t bear to put it down! 

The book is nominally about a boy’s mission to rescue his father, but it’s so much more than that. It’s a difficult book to do justice to in a review because the themes so rather odd on paper. You have to read it to appreciate it! What I can say is that it’s beautifully atmospheric and the narrative voice is incredibly personable. The author has done a phenomenally good job of researching for the book (R J Palacio was already high in my estimations after Wonder, but she’s secured a place as one of my favourite children’s authors after this!). This book is reminiscent of a number of children’s classics and will surely become a classic in itself.
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Pony is set during the mid-1800s, and begins when 12-year-old Silas Bird wakes in the middle of the night to find three frightening horse-men have arrived to take his father away. When a pony appears at the door, Silas decides to ride after the men with his friend Mittenwool - who’s a ghost! 

Pony is the latest novel by R. J. Palacio. Although very different in premise to Palacio’s earlier novel, Wonder, it’s just as sensitive and inspiring and will stay with you long after reading. Perfect for any age. 

Full review will be in PaperBound Magazine’s Autumn 2021 issue ( - out September.
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A great read. Adventure, history, and original storytelling bring this hard-to-categorise book to readers eagerly awaiting the next book to come after Wonder. Pony has some interesting name suggestions throughout the story but Pony sticks until the end. Themes of anguish, friendship and resilience drive the narrative along.
With thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for the opportunity to read this book.
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