Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Wendy Wanted A Pony (1951)

Wendy Wanted A Pony
Eleanor Frances Brown, il. Pers Crowell
1951, Julian Messner, Inc.

 If only there were some way to wave a magic wand and transport the whole Farwell family from the dirty, smoke-filled city to quiet green fields, peaceful living and clean fresh air for mother!

10-year-old Wendy Farwell longs to leave Chicago and live on a farm, where her father can farm, her mother (who suffers from some lung ailment) can get strong and she can have a horse.  She's prime horse girl material; a random encounter with a loose cow on a city street leads to a friendship with the local mounted police and a spotted Shetland named Polka Dot. 

"Getting you a pony was not our main reason for going," he called reprovingly.  "Our main reason still stands.  We need farm life for your mother's sake."

The Farwell family find it difficult to finance their move, though.  Hopes rise and fall, opportunities come and then fall through, and through the misadventures and uncertainty, Wendy clings to her hopes of a pony.  The family finally moves west, to join Jim's brother in Oregon, but their plans of a farm fall through and they end up back in apartments.  Along the way, she falls in love with her cousin's pony, White Sox, and acquires a beautiful dog -

Although very much like a purebred collie, she was much smaller and had a slightly different type of muzzle.  Her artistocratic head, with alert, cocked ears falling forward at the tips, held deep-set dark eyes with a look of unusual sweetness and intelligence.

who nearly makes up for the lack of equine opportunity.  And she befriends a cranky rich man. 

Wait.  A cranky rich man?  You know that's a good sign. 

This is a solid older children's book.  The plot has a slow but satisfying pace and a realistically difficult path to sucess for the heroes.  It also features the classis sickly mother, morally overbearing father, sulky male child who must be understood and, late in the game, a slightly creepy level of guilt from the heroine when she bends some rules to get her pony.

There isn't much in the way of horse scenes, oddly.  It's a book more about longing for a horse than about actually owning/riding/fussing over one.

Other books by Author
A Horse For Peter
The Colt From Horse Heaven Hills
Mountain Palomino
Golden Lady: The Story of an American Show Horse

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