The story of Koolio is the fifth in the Showtym Adventures series by Kelly Wilson. Based on the author’s real-life events Kelly brings authenticity to the story and biographical notes on her family members are included at the back of the book. The story has some lovely black and white sketches of horses in action that complement the story.
The book opens with a problem to be solved: the horse truck is no longer big enough and needs to be upgraded. A sacrifice will have to be made to afford a bigger horse truck and so Kelly’s horse, Cameo is sold and will need to be replaced with a cheaper and perhaps ‘greener’ pony.
Kelly falls in love with a very handsome gelding, Koolio, but his good looks don’t match his personality and Kelly has difficulty riding him. This erodes at her confidence and everything seems to be falling to pieces for Kelly when her sister, Vicki, makes a very unselfish offer that may save the day.
Although this book would appeal mainly to readers who also love horses there are other aspects to this story that are worth thinking about. To be involved with horses is a family commitment and to read about the family working together and making selfless choices to support each other in their competition goals is inspiring. This story is also about confidence, perseverance and commitment shown in the way Kelly starts to doubt her ability to compete and win ribbons, but with a little encouragement and a challenge to put the time in with grooming, things improve.
For any child dreaming of having a pony, I’d recommend reading stories in this series. The stories, along with the helpful ‘How-to’ section at the end portray a realistic view of what is involved.
Title: Koolio, the Problem Pony
Author: Kelly Wilson
Illustration: Heather Wilson
Publisher: Penguin Random House NZ
Date of Publication: February 2019
Ages: 8 to 14
Reviewer: Nova Gibson, Library Manager, Massey Primary School, Auckland
How highly are you recommending this book? Recommended
First sentence: "We have too many ponies," Dad announced.
You can buy this book here