RJ Palacio's Pony, a book that sticks with you long after you're done! | Mentoring in the Middle

RJ Palacio's Pony, a book that sticks with you long after you're done!

 There are so many things to love about this book, not the least of which is that RJ Palacio has moved in a completely different direction than in Wonder.  And this one is equally amazing!

Cover of RJ Palacio's newest book, Pony
Silas is growing up in the 1800s, in a remote area with his dad (his mom died in childbirth) and his best friend, a ghost named Mittenwool.  Silas's dad doesn't think anything of the fact that Mittenwool is part of Silas's life, or that only Silas sees him

Silas's dad is a thinker way ahead of his time who has decided to educate Silas himself.  He is accepting, encouraging, and kind.  A tinkerer and scientist by nature, he makes boots for a living; he's also building his reputation as a photographer because he uses his knowledge with chemicals to get the best results.

One evening, some strangers show up on horseback.  Assuming Silas's father is someone else, they want to take him away with them.  He leaves, at gunpoint, and makes Silas promise to stay in the cabin.  That he'll be back in less than a week.

But one of the horses the men brought with them escapes and returns to the cabin the day after his father leaves, and Silas takes that as a sign that he should go find his father.  Mittenwool thinks this is a horrible idea.  But he goes with Silas, anyway.  Because that's what best friends do.

As Silas and Mittenwool navigate their way through rough terrain with unexpected perils and wonderful adventures, they learn about friendship that binds you together no matter what, love of family, and courage.  

This book is part adventure, part mystery, and part ghost story, with a big dose of growing up in between.  Silas's developing relationship with his horse (on whom he tries out a lot of names, but finally decides on Pony) is pure magic!

There were aspects of this book that reminded me of How I Became a Ghost by Tim Tingle, a book my students and I enjoyed a lot.  Palacio's use of old photos as chapter dividers brought to mind the photos in Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs.

Palacio knocked it out of the park with this book. You need this book on your shelves!  This will become a student favorite and would be lovely as a read-aloud. 

  • Want to learn more about how to use the novel study guide I created for 5th - 7th graders?  Read my blog post here.

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