Horse Mad Summer, by Kathy Helidoniotis

A thousand dollars. Wow! I’d never had a thousand dollars in my life. I’d never been near a thousand dollars. I’d never even seen a thousand dollars. And for someone who’d done as much fundraising as I had to save up for a horse of my own, that was saying something.

When Ashleigh hears about the prizes for winning the Waratah Grove Junior Cross-Country Riding Championships, she’s pretty excited. Almost as excited as she is about the approaching summer holidays. She is going to be spending it with her best friend Becky, and her other best friend Jenna, who is coming down from the city to stay for four whole weeks. What could be better than a horse-mad summer with her friends?

Soon, though, Ashleigh’s summer plans hit a rough patch. Jenna and Becky don’t seem to like each other – and Jenna doesn’t even like horse riding. Becky is picked to compete at the Championships and, although Ashleigh is pleased for her, she can’t help feeling disappointed. Will anything go right?

Horse Mad Summer is a horsy story that will appeal to all young horse-lovers but will also be enjoyed by those who aren’t ‘in’ to horses. Much more than a story about horses and riding, it is also full of action, adventure and the challenges of friendship.

This is author Kathy Helidoniotis’s second story featuring Ashleigh and her friends, however although those who read the first will be delighted to read the sequel, those who haven’t will not be lost. It stands alone as an entertaining read.

An excellent offering.

Horse Mad Summer, by Kathy Helidoniotis
Banana Books, 2005

Aussie Pony Tales (No 2) by Sheryn Dee

Two new adventures with Jessie and her pony Magic.

After the Storm
A storm has come and gone in the night. Jessie and her pony Magic have a job to do. They ride around the fence line, making sure broken branches haven’t damaged the fence. In this second book of Pony Tales, Jessie finds a bird’s nest, blown from a tree during the storm. Nearby is a tiny bird, too young to be on its own. Jessie wants to carry it home in her riding helmet, but knows she mustn’t ride without her helmet. It’s a long tiring walk home, carrying the bird and leading Magic, but Mum knows just how to help.

Helping Out
There’s always plenty to do around the farm, especially now there’s a new baby on the way. When a water pipe bursts in the yard, it’s one more job for Jessie’s dad in an already busy day. Jessie decides to help out. She and her pony, Magic will move the sheep from one paddock, up the track a bit, and into another paddock. Jessie has often helped Dad and is sure she’ll be able to manage on her own. She successfully moves most of the sheep, but a few stragglers refuse to do what they should.

Aussie Pony Tales (No 2) by Sheryn Dee from ABC Books, gives us the next two adventures of Jessie and her pony Magic. These stories, written for 5-8 year olds, show what it’s like to live on Jessie’s farm. The distinctive bright cover is very similar to that of the first book, suggesting the next of these engaging story twins will be easy to spot.

Aussie Pony Tales (No 2), by Sheryn Dee
ABC Books 2003

Aussie Pony Tales (No 1) by Sheryn Dee

Two pony stories for the price of one:

The Best Day
Jessie wakes early on her seventh birthday. She can hardly believe that the pony outside the window is really hers. It seems to take a lifetime until she can have her first ride on her very own pony. Jessie and her pony walk around the horse paddock, getting used to each other. The pony must also become familiar with all the sights and sounds of the farm, including Max, the dog.

Sleepy Lizard It’s a beautiful Spring day and Jessie is planning to spend all day riding Magic, her pony. After helping Dad with some of the farm chores, finally Jessie can saddle Magic and begin. They ride around the horse paddock for a while then through an open gate, ready for their first adventure. Jessie spots a lizard on the track and dismounts for a closer look. She strays into the bush and loses sight of Magic and the track. The adventure has a happy ending, but Jessie learns some new rules that will help to keep her safe.

These pony stories are full of details and instructions sure to delight the young horse-lover. The joy of owning a horse is clearly communicated, but the writer is careful to include the responsibilities too. The reader making the transition to first chapter books will find these stories a manageable length, with detailed black and white illustrations on most pages. Cover art and numbering suggest there will be more of these stories and they are sure to develop a following in their intended 5-8 year old readership.

Aussie Pony Tales (No 1), by Sheryn Dee
ABC Books, 2003

Aussie Pony Tales 3, by Sheryn Dee

There is nothing Jessie likes better than riding her horse Magic. So, one perfect day, she and Magic set off for a picnic in the bush. All goes well, until Magic decides to take a dip in the Murray River. Jessie knows she shouldn’t follow Magic in – but what if her horse drowns?

Bush Picnic is the first of the two stories in this chapter book for four to seven year old readers. In the second story, Magic falls sick after eating some poisonous weed, and Jessie helps Mum and Dad nurse him back to help.

This is the third title in the Aussie Pony Tales series. Each volume has two short tales about Jessie and Magic’s adventures on the family farm in the South Australian Riverland. They are sure to appeal to young readers, especially horse-mad girls.

Aussie Pony Tales 3: Bush Picnic/A Magic Mixture, by Sheryn Dee, illustrated by Matt Cosgrove
ABC Books, 2004

Aussie Pony Tales 4, by Sheryn Dee

The Aussie Pony Tales series are aimed at young horse lovers making a transition to first novels from more highly illustrated picture books and readers. Each title has two stories about the adventures of seven-year-old Jessie and her pony Magic.

This is the fourth title in the series, written by author Sherryn Dee. In the first story, Magic Goes to School, young Jessie almost misses school when the car has a flat tyre and the spare is off getting fixed. But Jessie convinces Mum to let her ride Magic to school and Magic provides a welcome distraction for the other students.

In the second story Jessie and Magic become heroes, when Mum needs help urgently. Mum’s baby is coming, and when Jessie and Magic can’t find Dad anywhere, they ride to town to find a doctor instead.

With plenty of horse action and simply told stories, these tales are a great blend of interest and accessibility for young readers. They are especially likely to appeal to 6 to 8 year old girls.

Aussie Pony Tales 4: Magic Goes to School/The New Moon, by Sheryn Dee
ABC Books, 2004

Totally Horse Mad, by Kathy Helidoniotis

There is only one thing Ashleigh Miller wants in her life: a horse of her own. And, one day, she will have one. First she needs a whole lot of money and a place to keep one. So, when Ashleigh’s parents tell her she can get a horse, she thinks all her dreams have come true – until she realises that she has to move to the country.

Saying goodbye to her best friend, Jenna, is hard. Finding a horse is too. And making new friends could be the hardest part of all. Ashleigh has to overcome the constant lack of funds, the anger of some of her fellow students at the riding school, and the trouble she seems to attract like a magnet, before she can really enjoy having a horse of her own.

Totally Horse Mad is a great new title from Kathy Helidoniotis and Banana Books. Kids who like horses and horse stories will love this one.

Totally Horse Mad, by Kathy Helidoniotis
Banana Books, 2003