Tuesday, February 26, 2013

The Great Pony Hassle (1993)

The Great Pony Hassle
Nancy Springer, il. Daniel Mark Duffy
1993, Dial Books

“You promised!” Paisley McPherson yelled at her father.  “You told me if we had to live here, you’d get me a pony! You did!”

Two sets of twins become siblings when their parents marry.  And although big, brash Paisley is the only one who actually says it, all four girls want ponies.  As Paisley sets out to secure her equine and build him somewhere to live…

“I don’t believe this.  We go away, come back a couple days later, and the backyard’s turned into a pony farm.”

… her sisters watch with slitted eyes.  Her twin, Stirling, affects to not care.  The Fontecchio twins, Toni and Staci, also fake indifference but of course, all three are wild with jealousy.  And no wonder.

He was a palomino, a round, short-legged little palomino with a mass of forelock, like bangs that needed to be combed and trimmed, over those huge eyes.  He had enough creamy-blond mane and tail for six ordinary ponies.  His golden ears, turned at a contented sideward angle, pricked tiny through his thick mane.  His golden cheeks and pink nose moved as he selected a tuft of daisies and chewed it.  His tail, long and plump, swished almost as white as the flowers.

The pony, Noodles, and the silent girl-war carried out through disinformation, things left unsaid and other classic girl tactics, befuddle the doting father.  Clearing everything up, finally, is his brisk, horsey sister Caledonia, who comes to assess the pony and ends up instantly figuring out what’s going on with the kids.  It's a funny, accurate, age-appropriate book.

Kirkus review – pretty accurate
Nancy Springer’s website (includes brief essay about horses)

Other books – horsey
Sky Rider
The Boy On A Black Horse
They’re All Named Wildfire (I must interject that this is possibly the best horsey title ever)
A Horse To Love
Not On A White Horse
Music Of Their Hooves: Poems About Horses

Short story
"The Boy Who Plaited Manes" (Fantasy & Science Fiction magazine, October 1986)

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