Happenstance Farms

Catch That Pony

Children - Picture Book
Kindle Edition
Reviewed on 05/23/2022
Buy on Amazon

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    Book Review

Reviewed by Marta Tandori for Readers' Favorite

Understanding animals is at the heart of Happenstance Farms: Catch That Pony, a heart-warming picture book for young children by S. McMichael and inspired by the author’s daughter. In this second installment of the Happenstance Farms series, young equestrian Sophia has a new mount named Piper, a cute pony without much experience of being ridden. Excited about her new pony, Sophia puts out her hand but is immediately met with snorts and pinned back ears – not a promising start to their fledgling relationship. It only gets worse the harder Sophia tries to get Piper to trust her. Piper shies away from Sophia whenever she goes near, even going so far as to move when Sophia tries mounting her. Things come to a head for a discouraged Sophia when it’s time to get Piper ready for the ring and the pony refuses to be caught, taking off into the pasture with Sophia in desperate pursuit.

For children with no experience with animals, Happenstance Farms: Catch That Pony is instrumental in teaching them about the quirky personalities animals have, and also the importance of showing animals both kindness and patience until you’re able to win their trust. S. McMichael emphasizes that trust doesn’t come naturally and must be earned. She also teaches the importance of perseverance, especially when the odds are against you. These are life lessons every child needs to learn if they’re to thrive outside the home. There’s a vulnerability to Sophia’s young pony that leaps off the pages, giving the story genuine heart. This same vulnerability is beautifully captured in Justo Borrero’s sensitive illustrations, both through the tilt of the pony’s head and through the soulful – and sometimes willful – expression in its eyes. Colorful images and constant motion also give the story vibrancy. A beautiful read, this book is sure to satisfy budding equestrians and will offer children a better understanding of animals.