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Reviewed by Amy Raines for Readers' Favorite
Gentle George is written by Ken Mackenzie and Chris Stead. In a town with not many jobs available, mining was the way of life for men and young boys. Miners from the age of twelve and up would mine coal all day long with the help of pit ponies. One of the pit ponies named Gentle George was a very hard worker, a large pony, as well as the gentlest one of them all. Gentle George belonged to John and had never seen the light of day due to him always being in the mines doing his job. The mine begins to flood, threatening the lives of the boys, men, and the pit ponies. Will the mine become a mass coffin or will they find a way out? If the men are able to get out, how will they get the ponies out with the lift rope broken?
Gentle George is a beautiful and heroic story. I love how Ken Mackenzie and Chris Stead describe what mining life was like in such detail that the reader is drawn in. The fear and panic of the men, boys, and pit ponies as the mine begins to flood is all too realistic in such a situation. My favorite characters are John and Gentle George as they both remain as calm as they possibly can in hopes of saving as many of the miners and ponies as possible. The illustrations by SM-Arts are all wonderful pictures that lend a visual perspective to the story. I recommend Gentle George to anyone who enjoys an interesting tale of friendship, bravery, and heroism!