Cowgirl Kate and Cocoa by Erica Silverman, illustrated by Betsy Lewin
Cowgirl Kate and her horse, Cocoa, are good friends who spend time riding, and counting and herding cows. Like most friends, they disagree sometimes – for instance: is it time to eat, or time to count cows?
When Cowgirl Kate and Cocoa ride into the pasture, Cocoa needs a drink of water, then an apple, then another apple before he can herd cows. When Cocoa then is too full to do anything, Cowgirl Kate tells him the story of how they came to be together. After the story, Cocoa is ready to work.
Other adventures include counting cows together – Cocoa interrupts the counting to eat grass, and Cowgirl Kate tries to get high enough in a tree to see to count the cows – and Cowgirl Kate giving Cocoa a surprise gift that he tries to eat before realizing it is something to wear.
In the final chapter, Cowgirl Kate sleeps in the barn one night. She crawls into her sleeping bag. Cocoa asks her to fluff his straw. After she fluffs the straw, Cowgirl Kate crawls back into her sleeping bag. Cocoa is hungry. Cowgirl Kate gives him three carrots. Cocoa needs more water. Cowgirl Kate fills his water bin. When Cowgirl Kate crawls back into her sleeping bag, she cannot sleep. Cocoa sings her to sleep.
This is a cute book for beginning readers. Betsy Lewin’s (think Click Clack Moo) colorful illustrations appear on every page. The story is told in four chapters. This is a sweet – and sometimes silly – story about friendship and working together.
Bramble and Maggie by Jessie Haas, illustrated by Alison Friend
Bramble is a horse who gives riding lessons in a riding ring. But, Bramble is getting bored of riding around and around the ring while Mrs. Blenkinsop tells the riders what to do (and they tell Bramble what to do).
Bramble expresses her boredom by slowing down, or walking backward instead of forwards, or going too fast, or, just not doing anything at all. Mrs. Blenkinsop realizes that Bramble is bored with being a riding lesson horse. Mrs. Blenkinsop tells Bramble she won’t have to do any more riding lessons – and that Bramble needs a person of her own.
” A person of her own. Bramble liked that idea. But not just any person. She would have to be picky.”
And, Bramble is picky. Two families with children come to look at Bramble, but she does not want to go live with them. One family talks about their riding ring. One family wants a horse that is a jumper. Bramble finds ways of telling the families they aren’t for her.
Maggie and her parents come to look at Bramble. Maggie instantly falls in love (even though she knows she should be picky). Bramble is picky. But, after riding together – Maggie asks to ride outside of the ring – Bramble decides that Maggie is the person for her.
Maggie gets everything ready for Bramble to come and live with her. Bramble settles in, and Maggie takes care of her – and learns what Bramble likes.
“I have a horse! Maggie thought. And she has me.”
This is a fun story for a beginning reader with colorful illustrations on every page. There are four chapters.
Keeker and the Sneaky Pony by Hadley Higginson, illustrated by Maja Andersen
This is a good book for readers who are ready to move beyond the beginning reader books, but who feel a little intimidated by longer chapter books.
Keeker is an eight-year-old girl who desperately wants a pony. She has taken riding lessons, been to riding camp, and read books on horse care. But, she thinks she’ll never get a pony of her own.
Plum is a Shetland pony who loves to eat and gallop around. She is a little bit sneaky. And, she doesn’t think about girls. When Keeker’s parents buy Plum and bring her home, Keeker and Plum don’t hit it off right away.
“My OWN pony,” thought Keeker. “I love her already.”
Plum stared at Keeker.
“Whose girl is this?” thought Plum.
Keeker waits while Plum gets comfortable in her new home. Finally the day comes when Keeker can ride Plum. They have an adventure that involves sneaky pony antics, a forest, ferns, and a bunch of blackberries – and ends with Keeker and Plum becoming friends.
“I’m glad I got a girl,” thought Plum as she burbled away. “With a little more training, she’ll be just right.”
The text is easy to read, with illustrations on almost every page. There are three pages of Pony Facts at the end of the book – written in a simple, friendly style. This is the first book in the Sneaky Pony series.