Friday, September 24, 2021

review of Pony by R.J. Palacio - 9.24.21

I'm still on a blog break (oh, you should see my downstairs... torn up and dust everywhere), but I had to jump on and tell you about this wonderful story!

Like so many of you, Wonder was a book that stayed with me long after I closed the pages.  Auggie and his family and their journey was one that made me want to be different in life and always choose kindness.  Since Wonder, author R.J. Palacio has given us more stories from Auggie's world, but now we finally have a new story.

Pony by R. J Palacio
by R.J. Palacio
published by Random House Children's Books
publishes September 28th

You might be like me and not want too much information about the book.  You might want to discover all of the book on your own, without preconceived notions.  Before starting the story, I really didn't know much about it.  I wanted the story to unfold before me.  If that's you, then continue on with this paragraph.  I'll give you plenty of notice when I'm going to tell more.  For those of you won don't want to know more, here's the little bit I'll give you.  Like the covers of the books, this story differs from Wonder.  The writing is beautiful, but in a very different way.  It takes place in a different time and setting, and while the characters will stick to you, it's in a different way.  The careful planning that went into the writing is shown in the meticulous way the story unfolds.  It's a historical setting, without it being a historical fiction novel.  I can't wait for you and your readers to meet the beautiful characters in this story and fall in love with Palacio's writing all over again!

Now, for the blog readers who want to know a little more without any spoilers... Read on!

This is a story about how love transcends and comes to us in ways we cannot imagine.  It's about how life endures and carries on even when you think all is lost.  It's about how the connection between humans and animals can be lifesaving.

Do I have you hooked yet?  Let me tell you a bit more about this story.

In this story, we meet Silas.  Silas lives with his Pa, a loving father, and a very intelligent man.  Silas' mother passed away in childbirth, but Pa has nothing but beautiful and loving things to say about her.  When we start the story, some unsavory men have come to their house to take Pa away.  They keep calling him by a different name and tell him that their boss has a job that only he can do.  The men have two extra horses, one for Pa to ride and one for Silas, but Pa convinces them to leave Silas out of this.  Pa leaves and gives Silas firm instructions to stay at home.  Not long after, the pony that had been meant for Silas to ride comes back to their home and Silas takes it as a sign to go find Pa.  Silas has a friend that only he can see, Mittenwool, who tries to convince Silas not to leave.  However, Silas is determined and he leaves with the pony.  Mittenwool travels with them.  Their first task is to make it through the Woods.  Silas has history with the Woods and we discover that Silas can actually see ghosts of people who have passed, and the Woods are full of them.  Silas meets an older man in the woods, a US Marshal named Enoch Farmer.  It turns out Marshal Farmer is actually looking for the same people that took off with Pa.  Marshal Farmer reluctantly agrees to take Silas with him.  This sets off a chain of events that ultimately leads Silas onto a journey that will impact the rest of his life.
While this story takes place in the past (1860s), it's not a book about the past.  The setting and time period is important to the plot of the story, but it's not meant to be a historical fiction novel.  Yet another decision by Palacio that makes perfect sense for this story.
The book is separated into eleven parts.  People who remember the quick chapters in Wonder will also like the fast chapters in this story.  I kept saying "just one more part"!  At the beginning of each section, there is a photograph, or what I thought were regular photographs.  Part of the story has to do with photographs and how they were developed and created at that time.  It was another unique and interesting part of the novel.
This book will appeal to fans of Dan Gemeinhart's Some Kind of Courage.  This is a book that I sincerely hope the Newbery committee is looking at very closely right now.  It has all the feels for me!
Pony publishes this coming Tuesday, September 28th.  I highly recommend preordering this one and probably having multiple copies on hand!  

1 comment:

  1. This sounds wonderful. I have a student this year who loves horses. This will be a wonderful choice for her. Thank you for letting me know about it.