Title: Foal in the FogAnimal Ark - Foal in the Fog
Author: Ben M. Baglio
Pages: 123
Reading Level: 8-12
Star Rating:

Animal Ark.

The Story.

Mandy is excited to be taking a holiday with her parents at Whitehorse Farm Trekking Center in Dartmoor. There will be lots of opportunity for riding on the fat little ponies with her friend, Louise – and for finding spooky spots on the moor!

But when Mandy and Louise become separated in the fog and Mandy sees a ghostly skewbald pony, she begins to wonder. What was the pony doing there? Is there some way that she, Mandy, can help it?

Discussion.

Most of the Animal Ark stories are set in Wexford, a small English village. Foal in the Fog departs from this tradition – Mandy and her family are on a hard earned vacation in Dartmoor, where they experience the beauty and fun of riding moor ponies over the desolate landscape. The moor has a long and varied history, and some of the fantastical stories (of ghosts, gods, etc.) are retold in Foal in the Fog.

Even with the inclusion of these stories, I was willing to rate Foal in the Fog highly; they didn’t dominate the story, and the story itself showed an originality which is, frankly, lacking in most of the Animal Ark series. But then, Mandy sees a ghost of her own. The ghost of a skewbald foal.

I wasn’t bothered by this. Children are always “seeing ghosts” in stories, only to discover later that the “ghost” was a real person, dog, or carrot. So, I sat back and waited to find out the true story behind the ghostly foal.

But instead of finding a well-reasoned explanation of this foal’s appearance, I was told that Abby, a local girl, was devastated over the loss of her skewbald foal, Curiosity! When pressed, Abby admits to Mandy that part of the reason why she’s so distressed is because she believes she has seen the ghost of Curiosity and is afraid that Curiosity will try to hurt her! Both girls see Curiosity off and on throughout the rest of the story, and in one of the last chapters, Curiosity guides them to another pony who is stuck in the bog. After Mandy and Abby free the pony, Curiosity disappears. Mandy declares that “She’ll rest more easily now” that she’s helped them rescue the pony!

And that’s it. No other explanation is offered. We are left with Mandy’s assurance that the pony that they have seen was indeed Curiosity.

A “white” lie is told.

Conclusion. Not recommended.

Review © 2013 Laura Verret

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