Pony Detectives – Soraya Nicholas – Starlight Stables #1 – Penguin Australia – Published 28 March 2016
Poppy is thrilled to be back doing the one thing she loves – riding horses at Starlight stables – especially when her aunt and uncle make all her dreams come true with a gift of her very own horse. But there’s a catch . . . Poppy must look after the new scholarship girls. Will the bold and troublesome Milly and shy, sensible Katie be the pony-mad friends she’s always hoped for?
When horses go missing from the local farms, Poppy worries about Crystal, her new horse. Will the girls be able to protect their ponies from the horse thief and find the missing horses at the same time?
Love horses and dream of owning your own pony or escaping to riding camp for the summer? Well, Poppy answers yes to all three, and this summer her wishes are about to come true.
Poppy is going to stay with her aunt and uncle at their riding camp for the holidays and they have a very special surprise in store for her – her very own pony. But she will have to share this privilege with two other girls. When horses are stolen from neighbouring properties, Poppy and her two new friends decide it is up to them to keep their own ponies safe and maybe even rescue the missing horses.
Set in the Australian bush, this story is at once familiar and refreshingly new. Fans of the usual horsey, riding-stable series will love this new series, while Aussie readers will enjoy the familiarity of the Australian setting and references (lamingtons and Tim Tams, for example). Poppy is also dealing with a hard time at home, grieving her father and worrying about her mother. This is equally a story about family and friendship, as much as it is about horse riding and adventure.
The girls get themselves into all sorts of mischief, so there is plenty of drama and adventure to enjoy. The girls also need to learn to work together and trust each other, setting up a strong friendship that will continue in the next books. This is an exciting new series for young readers, particularly animal lovers.
Category: Children’s fiction.
Genre: Contemporary, animals.
Themes: Friendship, family, horses, riding school, mystery, adventure.
Reading age guide: Ages 8 to 12
Published: 28 March 2016 by Penguin Australia
Format: Paperback, ebook. 192 pages.