by R J Palacio (Author)

Reading Level: 4th – 5th Grade

The worldwide phenomenon Wonder showed over 13 million readers how to choose kind. Now, the #1 New York Times bestselling author is back with an enthralling adventure that will show readers how to choose courage. A modern classic about a boy on a quest to rescue his father, with only a ghost as his companion and a mysterious pony as his guide.

"Magical--Pony is pure delight." --Newbery Medal-winning author Rebecca Stead

Twelve-year-old Silas is awoken in the dead of night by three menacing horsemen who take his father away. Silas is left shaken, scared, and alone, except for the presence of his companion, Mittenwool . . . who happens to be a ghost. When a pony shows up at his door, Silas makes the courageous decision to leave his home and embark on a perilous journey to find his father. Along the way, he will face his fears to unlock the secrets of his past and explore the unfathomable mysteries of the world around him.

R. J. Palacio spins a harrowing yet distinctly beautiful coming-of-age story about the power of love and the ties that bind us across distance and time. With the poignant depth of War Horse and the singular voice of True Grit, this is one of those rare books poised to become an instant classic for readers of all ages.

Kirkus Reviews

Beautiful writing cannot compensate for weaknesses in worldbuilding.

Publishers Weekly

When he's struck by lightning in front of an oak tree--an event that doesn't connect much with the rest of the story--Silas Bird, the introspective 12-year-old at the center of this meandering 1860 Ohio-set adventure, has the tree's image permanently imprinted on his back. Silas lives with his inventive but reclusive father, a Scottish bootmaker and photographic scientist, as well as a protective teenage ghost named Mittenwool, until three men on horseback arrive at the family's remote cabin to seize Silas's father. When the kidnappers' white-faced Arabian pony appears a few hours later, Silas is sure his father sent it, and rides off to find him, with Mittenwool reluctantly in tow. In the time-warped Woods, he meets a U.S. marshal tracking three outlaws; Silas, certain that they are the same people who took his father, joins him, en route narrating stories of his family's history and encountering ghosts whom only he can see. Though Silas's "I have made my peace with everything" perspective belies his age, Palacio's cued-white characters are simultaneously crusty and charming in their altruistic bravado, and the blend of rambling western, scientific, and paranormal elements mixed with lingering questions about Silas's father's past will appeal to many as the trio underscores how even unlikely friendships can make for strong bonds. Images made from daguerreotypes serve as chapter heads. Ages 10-up. (Sept.)

Copyright 2021 Publishers Weekly, LLC Used with permission.


Starred Review

The soul of this rip-roaring adventure lies in the author's ability to draw significant connections and relationships among characters, between the past and the present, and with lost and displaced souls and their people...Pony illustrates Palacio's range as an author, with this tale being distinctly different from Wonder (2012), yet sharing movingly captured central themes of heart, family, and overcoming challenges.

Review quotes

Praise for PONY: 

"A magical story—Pony is pure delight." —Rebecca Stead, Newbery Medal-winning author of When You Reach Me

"A mystery, a frontier adventure, a ghost story: Pony tells the tale of a child 'with fire in his mind, ' and it will light a fire in yours. R. J. Palacio's most ambitious book yet, it is as compelling as it is satisfying." —Adam Gidwitz, Newbery Honor-winning author of The Inquisitor's Tale

"Once you open Pony, R.J. Palacio's astonishing new novel, your life will no longer be your own. From the first pages, I fell under the thrall of the remarkable Silas, a boy as wise as he is brave. . . . An utterly absorbing, beautifully written book." —Margot Livesey, author of Eva Moves the Furniture and The Boy in the Field

"This book blew me away. It is one of the best 2021 books that I have read. I can't stop thinking about it." —Colby Sharp, Fifth Grade Teacher; Founder of Nerdy Book Club blog; Co-host of The Yarn podcast

"I feel like I just read a symphony, a melody I'd never heard before, but my heart somehow remembered. RJ Palacio, you are a Wonder." —Erin O'Leary, Reading Specialist

"Beautifully crafted...A timeless adventure of the heart. —Barb Langridge, M.Ed; Children's Instructor and Research Specialist; Howard County Central Library (retired); Founder of Abooknandahug blog

"Once I started reading, I could NOT stop. This may have become my new favorite middle-grade story of all-time!" —Patrick Andrus, Fourth Grade Teacher at Eden Prairie Schools/Prairie View Elementary 

Praise for WONDER:

"Wonder is the best kids' book of the year." —Slate Magazine

"A crackling page-turner filled with characters you can't help but root for." —Entertainment Weekly

"Rich and memorable. . . . It's Auggie and the rest of the children who are the real heart of Wonder, and Palacio captures the voices of girls and boys, fifth graders and teenagers, with equal skill." —The New York Times

"A beautiful, funny and sometimes sob-making story of quiet transformation." —The Wall Street Journal
R J Palacio
Mientras R. J. Palacio se dedicaba a diseñar preciosas cubiertas para cientos de autores, soñaba con escribir una novela algún día. Sin embargo, le parecía que nunca llegaba el momento hasta que se dio cuenta de que lo único que tenía que hacer era empezar. Wonder. La lección de August fue su primera novela y se convirtió en un fenómeno mundial que ha inspirado a más de un millón de personas. La historia de Julian, su segundo libro, retoma el universo de Wonder para descubrir su cara oculta. Cuando Palacio decidió escribir El libro de preceptos del señor Browne, pidió ayuda a sus lectores: en dos semanas, había recibido más de mil postales con preceptos procedentes de todo el mundo.
Lexile Measure
Guided Reading Level
Alfred A. Knopf Books for Young Readers
Publication date
September 20, 2021
BISAC categories
JUV001000 - Juvenile Fiction | Action & Adventure
JUV002130 - Juvenile Fiction | Animals | Horses
JUV042000 - Juvenile Fiction | Westerns
Library of Congress categories

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