Earlier this month, I reviewed my favorite book of 2021, Cloud Cuckoo Land. it was a tight race, for neck and neck for favorite was R. J. Palacio’s Pony.

This a wonderful book with universal appeal.

By the author of Wonder, that fine book/film about a boy who had multiple facial surgeries who wore an astronaut’s helmet and had a big personality, Pony is a coming-of-age story and so much more. Both My Better Half and I read it late in 2021, and we both said it was one of the best books we’d read all year.

The western tells the story of 12-year-old Silas, who lives alone with his widowed father and Mittenwood, an imaginary friend, a boy of about sixteen in a cabin far out from town. One day, three horsemen appear and force Silas’s father to go with them, leaving Silas to fend for himself. When it becomes apparent that the father is not coming back any time soon, Silas undertakes a “perilous journey” to find him. The book deals with the “power of love and the ties that bind us across distance and time.” Along the way, Silas (and Mittenwood) encounter Marshall Farmer, an old man who is searching for the most infamous counterfeiter in years, and Sheriff Chalfont and Deputy Beautyman who promise to help Silas rescue his father from the clutches of the criminals who have kidnapped him.

Although everything does not come up roses, the ending is satisfying and leaves the reader with a feeling of contentment. In the author’s notes, Palacio says, “I spent many years researching this book, and I hope none of it shows.” Rest assured, Palacio, it doesn’t. The novel is a seamless narrative, which reveals much about human nature and life and is a darned good read. I highly recommend it.

Thanks, Evin

Author: Rae Longest

This year (2019) finds me with 50 plus years of teaching "under my belt." I have taught all levels from pre-K "(library lady" or "book lady"--volunteer) to juniors, seniors, and graduate students enrolled in my Advanced Writing class at the university where I have just completed 30 years. My first paying teaching job was junior high, and I spent 13 years with ages 12-13, the "difficult years." I had some of the "funnest" experiences with this age group. When I was no longer the "young, fun teacher," I taught in an elementary school setting before sixth graders went on to junior high, teaching language arts blocs, an assignment that was a "dream-fit" for me. After completing graduate school in my 40s, I went on to community college, then university teaching. Just as teaching is "in my blood," so is a passion for reading, writing, libraries, and everything bookish. This blog will be open to anyone who loves books, promotes literacy and wants to "come out and play."

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