image“Loren pulled off his soaking coat.  His arms shook, but without hesitation he advanced toward the foal.”

  • from Shoon, Wild Pony of the Moors, by Eunice Young Smith

My childhood library was old and full of old books that are gone now.  At eight and nine and ten years old, I hunted relentlessly through its dim recesses for horse books like this one, so although I never found this particular novel as a kid, it still felt like a throwback.  Like all horse books, it’s about the desperate longing of a lonely child for the horse that will be his lifelong companion.

Loren lives on a farm in Southern England, and spends all of his free time scribbling poetry and rambling on the moors watching wild ponies.  One day he sees a foal with unusual markings, and becomes obsessed with taming him.  The pony herds have owners, and though they roam free on the plains all year, they are rounded up and auctioned off periodically.  Loren has to find a way to figure out whether his foal will be caught, and if so, to buy him.  There’s a literature contest at school with a five-pound prize, and Loren must win it if he’s to have enough money to buy his foal, but even then, there’s the matter of convincing his parents…

Eloquently written, and from the era before horses were seen as girly (I’m looking at you, Saddle Club #1-101), this will be a hit with fans of Marguerite Henry and younger readers of the Black Stallion books.