09 September 2008

The Wish Pony

by Catherine Bateson

Random House (Woolshed Press). Junior Fiction, Australian. Paperback rrp $15.95

The Wish Pony is a treasure. The book I mean, although fittingly, the little glass pony is as well. This is a story which immediately goes to the heart of those things that trouble middle primary schoolers – best friends, school, fitting in, parents and in Ruby’s case, the pending birth of a baby brother she doesn’t even want.

Life is changing and Ruby doesn’t like it. Her parents have no time for her at the moment as her pregnant mother is often sick and eventually hospitalised. School is full of problems too and for the first time ever, Ruby is labelled troublesome and difficult. After Ruby tries to copy her best friend Sarah’s maths, Sarah abandons Ruby for the new girl at school. Ruby feels it’s all so unfair. After all, none of it is her fault.

Then Ruby meets Magda, the eccentric old neighbour who is asked to look after Ruby whenever her mother is in hospital. Magda opens Ruby’s eyes and shows her how to take responsibility instead of trying to blame everyone else. She gives Ruby a small glass pony. A Wish Pony.

Ruby makes a terrible wish. Then her baby brother is born premature and there’s a strong chance he won’t survive. Now things are going very wrong and it might truly be her fault. But something magical happens. Is it the pony or something Ruby finds within when she stops feeling sorry for herself and starts to put others first.

Catherine Bateson has won the Children’s Book Council Book of the Year for Junior Readers twice. And this book is another example why. She is a wonderful writer who tells equally wonderful stories perfectly pitched to her audience. Recommended for children 8 – 12 years and in particular, girls.

No comments:

Post a Comment