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Too Many Ponies by Sheena Wilkinson

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Children's Book of the Month

Too Many Ponies by Sheena Wilkinson
Published by Little Island, 2013

Aidan’s family can no longer afford to offer refuge to abandoned and abused horses and their sanctuary Rosevale is about to close down. If this happens it will be disastrous for the animals that are cared for there. Starving, abandoned, beaten or just plain neglected horses, ponies and donkeys are brought there from all over the country.

Lucy is lucky to live next door to Rosevale and is allowed keep her pony, Puzzle there. Her friend and classmate Aidan lives at Rosevale and his Dad owns the Sanctuary.

When Lucy’s teacher asks the class to nominate a special charity for the year, she doesn’t hesitate to name Rosevale but her proposal is out voted. But when the estate nearby is bought and the new owner is offering £5,000 for the best team in a cross-country competition Lucy is determined to enter a team and save Rosevale.

Without Aidan they don’t have a team but Aidan has lost his nerve and is terrified of riding. His confidence has taken a bashing from his bullying classmates in his new school and though he says he can’t take part in the competition, he has no choice – he simply has to.

This story for younger readers from CBI award winner Sheena Wilkinson is ideally pitched at 10 to 13 year olds. Wilkinson knows her subject material inside out and writes in a way that is just as meaningful to boys as to girls. The two main characters Lucy and Aidan are expertly drawn as they iron out their dilemmas effectively and often even without their realisation in a story that never lacks pace and excitement.

Too Many Ponies is shortlisted for the CBI Book of the Year Awards 2014.