Anna loves her pony, Acorn. She knows that he is perfect for her. But her parents think Acorn is the reason why she is doing badly in school. If she doesn't get better grades, they will take him away.
Pam and Lulu, her Pony Pals, want to help. They know how much Anna loves her pony. Can the Pony Pals help Anna and Acorn? Will Acorn be a pony for keeps
|Reading some old pony book should|
not be this emotional! *sob*
In A Pony for Keeps, Anna wants to finally purchase Acorn, the pony she's been leasing. But her parents have other plans; if she can't pick up her grades, they're going to get rid of Anna's beloved Acorn. Their explanation is that Acorn is obviously just distracting Anna from studying... except that she studies constantly throughout the book, and they still accuse Acorn of being the problem when these hours of studying don't help their daughter before her next report card.
Throughout the novel, it is incredibly obvious that Anna suffers from dyslexia, which reduces her parent's actions from "delivering an emotionally crippling punishment to their daughter because she isn't performing well academically" to "deliver an emotionally crippling punishment to their daughter because she has a learning disability". It makes me wonder how many children this has actually happened to... and then, it makes me sick.
...my anger aside, children who suffered dyslexia will likely sympathize with Anna's (fairly short) journey to understanding her difficulties, though particularly sensitive children might fall more in line with my complaints. (I'll point out that I am 99% sure I read this book as a child and did not notice how problematic their behavior was... but this might say more about my own parents' style than anything else...) But I definitely don't mean to imply that it's a bad book just because I have an issue with the parent/child power imbalance. Children with dyslexia, learning disabilities, or just a sincere love of ponies will probably get a kick out of the story.
If your son or daughter's a budding young equestrian, Pony Pals is a fine series for them to get into, and A Pony for Keeps is vastly superior to the first book primarily because it had any kind of emotional impact on me; the first was much too monotonous to manage that. I definitely look forward to revisiting other Pony Pal books that I read as a child (and checking out ones that I didn't!). Hopefully the writing and plots will continue to improve.