Leah's Pony

Leah's Pony

After a good harvest, Leah's parents buy her a pony. However, the next year a severe drought sets in, and the crop fails, causing the bank to foreclose on the family's farm. When an auction is called, Leah has an idea: to sell her pony and, with the money, bid $1 on her father's tractor. None of the people attending wish to outbid her, and her bold act has a ripple effect.

Friedrich's use of prose eloquently describes the realities of life and their effects on young Leah: "The year the corn grew tall and straight, Leah's papa bought her a pony...That whole summer, Leah and her pony crossed through cloud-capped cornfields and chased cattle through the pasture...The year the corn grew no taller than a man's thumb, Leah's house became very quiet. Sometimes on those hot dry nights, Leah heard Papa and Mama's hushed voices whispering in the kitchen. She couldn't understand the words but knew their sad sound."

Garland's oil paintings effectively and dramatically portray the harsh landscape of the Dust Bowl and the emotions of the people whose lives were affected by the double hardship of depression and drought. A valuable book to introduce children to life during the 1930s, and also an inspiring story of courage and compassion. A historical note gives an overview of the time period and "penny auctions." Warning: the reader might wish to keep a tissue handy. Ages 5-9.32 pages

Recommended by Barbara Karp, Librarian.

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