Title: Riding the Pony Expressriding the Pony express
Author: Clyde Robert Bulla
Illustrator: Grace Paull
Pages: 95
Recommended Ages: 7-10
Star Rating: ★★★★★

From the author of The Sword in the Tree and Three Dollar Mule.

The Story.

Dick Park’s father is a rider with the Pony Express – he darts around the countryside on horseback, evading Indians and wolves alike as he races to the next outpost with the precious pouch of letters.

Dick has always lived in New York with his Aunt Jane, but one day she decides that it is time for him to go to his father in Missouri, so she packs him up and sets him on his way! Dick enjoys the trip and meets interesting people along the way to his father’s outpost, but he is worried. What if his father views him as a distraction from the Pony Express? Can Dick find a place to fit into that great venture?

Discussion.

Okay, this is seriously SUCH a cute story. The style is simple but firm, and is perfect for relating the sometimes-adventurous but always-testing way of life that was experienced by those who lived on the outer reaches of civilization.

Dick himself is allowed to live at one of the outposts where his father sometimes stays, and he helps to care for the horses. However, when several of the team members become ill and must be taken to the doctor, Dick is pushed to the forefront of the action and must himself ride for the Pony Express!

The illustrations were splendidly old-fashioned – they reminded me of Garth Williams’ work in the Little House on the Prairie series. Another really fun aspect of this book was the inclusion of several songs that were sung along the Pony Express, complete with the music and everything!

Christmas is celebrated.

Conclusion. Simply splendid. Definitely a must-have for early readers.

Review © 2014 Laura Verret

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