Pony Scouts: At The Show

In addition to the vomit-inducing Backhoe Joe, La Serpiente has been making me read Pony Scouts: At The Show, a level 2 reading book ("High-interest stories for developing readers" according to the blurb.) While I’m allergic to horses, we can be fairly confident that the book isn’t making my daughter sick, as she made me read it on Sunday night without any ill-effects.

The Pony Scouts are three girls who love ponies. Jill, who lives on a pony farm, rides her pony Apples in a dressage competition, while her two friends Annie and Meg are groupies or something, and turn up to groom Apples and then spectate at the pony show, telling Jill she’s so wonderful just because her parents give her a horse to sit on. (I’m not bitter, honest.)

There’s some kind of class rivalry because when they get to the pony show, they’re intimidated by the sight of a much posher looking pony and rider, but lo and behold, all expectations are confounded when a tiny pony (a Shetland? The text never makes this clear) and rider trounce the competition. Never mind. One day, if Annie and Meg slave over Apples enough, Jill may deign to let them ride the pony.

This is clearly an awful book because there are no excavators, dinosaurs, motorcycles or even any eldritch horrors from beyond space and time, impossible for a weak human mind to comprehend. Otherwise, it’s fairly innocuous but at the same time utterly dull. Will my daughter be the sort of girl who dreams of having her own pony? Does this tale adequately prepare her for the mean streets, when Los Vaqueros challenge The West Side Pony Boys to a beat down to win their spurs? Couldn’t she have chosen something about boxing or bungee jumping or the Insane Clown Posse instead?

On the positive side, the illustrations are much better than Construction Kitties, there’s no anthropomorphism and it doesn’t make me cry like Love You Forever does. So it’s got that going for it.

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