Keeker and the Sneaky Pony

Book review by
Pam Gelman, Common Sense Media
Keeker and the Sneaky Pony Book Poster Image
A great choice to keep new readers in the saddle.

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this book.

Positive Messages

Keeker learns respect for her pony by speaking calmly and caring for her lovingly. Plum learns to respond to Keeker's friendly advances and builds trust.

Violence & Scariness

Girl is tossed off pony on trail but not injured. She loses and then finds pony.

Language

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that this book, the first in the Keeker series, will draw in emergent readers, especially horse lovers. It includes positive messages on caring for and building trust with animals. A girl is tossed off a pony, but not injured.

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What's the story?

Catherine Corey Keegan Keeker, otherwise known as Keeker, has always wanted a pony. Finally the dream comes true when Plum the Shetland pony arrives at her family's farm. At first she spends time with Plum to get to know her. Plum finds her nosy and wishes she would leave her alone. Keeker struggles with catching Plum, putting on the tack, and then out on a trail. They share adventures and in the process learn to trust each other.

Is it any good?

With its simple sentence structure, easy-to-read language, and interesting characters and story line, this book is a great tool to push the new reader along. It will appeal to many young readers, particularly those who dream of owning a pony. Six short chapters are illustrated with delightful curlicue, thin-lined drawings on every page, helping the reader follow the plot and learn even more about the characters. And for kids who finish this book asking for their own ponies, there are also a few pages of pony facts describing the time-intensive responsibilities involved.

Author Hadley Higginson, who grew up on farm, clearly understands young girls like 8-year-old Keeker, who desperately wants a pony. She also gets animal behavior, and in giving the pony Plum a voice, she cleverly shows the animal as mischievous and a bit full of herself. Plum wants to be free, run, eat blackberries -- kids can understand this perspective, too. So readers will root for both Keeker and Plum to get what they want. It's a great lure to keep readers wanting to know what happens next.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about Keeker's frustration with Plum. How does she manage her frustration and overcome it to win Plum over? Parents can also gently remind their young readers about the consequences when Keeker doesn't listen to her mother. What happens when Keeker goes too far on the trail?

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