Happy Go Lucky by Kristin Earhart
This is the first book in the Big Apple Barn series and friends, I shall be honest with you. It was not chosen on merit, it was chosen purely because it is short, I own it and it is about a horse. I’ve got some stuff coming up that will be limiting my reading and blogging time, so I figured any book would do in a pinch? Yeah, I’m not even sold.
Immediately, I am foiled. Happy is a pony! He’s not a horse! For the uninitiated, ponies and horses seem interchangeable, but they’re actually different animals. Whether your little horse lover will also enjoy pony books is beyond me, but I bet you’ll find out.
It is quickly apparent that this is going to be narrated by the title pony himself and that Happy is no Black Beauty. While I came down hard on Black Beauty for the difficult subject matter and old-fashioned plot, it was unequivocally well-written. This was not. This was painful to read. This is the kind of beginning chapter book that makes me cringe a bit.
So what’s my gripe? Happy is a saccharine little pony. You can almost feel the “aw shucks” radiating off him. And he does not want to go live away from his mommy at the big barn, oh no! But then he’s at the barn and a talking mouse warns him against making the wrong friends. And lo and behold, a horse gives him bad advice, which he only follows accidentally but not because he meant to. But then everything’s okay because he meets some other horses who knew his mom.
The story was weak. The conflict was weaker. The pony was dull. However, I expect there is an audience for this sort of thing and I’d wager that audience is probably Kindergarten and first grade readers who are already into chapter books and struggling second and third grade readers who tend towards an interest in animals.
Sex, Nudity, Dating – None.
Profanity – None.
Death, Violence and Gore – None.
Drugs, Alcohol and Smoking – None.
Frightening or Intense Things – None.