________________ CM . . . . Volume XIV Number 10 . . . . January 11, 2008


Pony Wishes. (World of Wishes; 6).

Carol Barton. Illustrated by Charlotte Alder.
Toronto, ON: Scholastic Canada, 2007.
161 pp., pbk., $6.99.
ISBN 978-0-439-93566-1.

Subject Headings:
Wishes-Juvenile fiction.
Ponies-Juvenile fiction.
Rescues-Juvnile fiction.

Grades 1-3 / Ages 6-8.

Review by Tanya Boudreau.

*** /4


"Well, asked Sebastian, "what did he say?"

"I had to tell him why we were here before he would agree to talk to us," said Zak.

"For pity's sake!" The princess almost exploded. "Doesn't he know who I am?"

"Oh, yes," Zak replied dryly, "he knows only too well, but it didn't make much difference."

"So what did he say?" asked Sebastian quickly before the princess could explode again.

"Ah, now, there we have a story- and what a story it is." Zak puffed out his chest feathers. "He said he sees everything up here," he went on, "and that, yes, he did see both Gus and the princess's ponies being taken away."

"Did he say who took them?" demanded the princess.

"I think you'd better come over and hear this for yourselves," said Zak and Maddie noticed that he sounded rather uneasy.


Maddie has no luck when it comes to riding horses, or making friends with Jessica. What she can do though is make wishes come true.

     Zavania is a magical land. Birds can talk, carpets can fly, and monkeys can pilot. Despite all this magic, inhabitants still have wishes. Sebastian, the junior WishMaster, does use spells and rings to grant these wishes, but he requires additional help too. When there is a wish to be granted, Sebastian can be seen under the willows near Maddie's house. With grumpy old Zak on board too, Sebastian takes Maddie away to a land of Enchanted Forests, Royal Castles, and rainbow accented flying ponies.

     It's summertime in Zavania, and all the winged ponies are learning to fly, all except Gus. He only has bumps where his wings should be. Gus wishes for wings so he can fly south with his family and friends. Luckily, all Maddie, Sebastian and Zak have to do is cross the castle grounds and use the sapphire ring, and the written J spell to grant Gus's wish. But as they have experienced in the past, what seems easy doesn't always turn out to be that way.

     Plans are quickly changed as Maddie, Sebastian and Zak run into an upset and demanding Princess Lyra. She wants Sebastian to use one of his two spells to find her missing ponies! As much as Sebastian would like to help, he cannot leave his assignment and use up a spell. Maybe he should have because now she wants to tag along!

     The banter between Zak, the cranky crow, and the spoiled Princess Lyra adds humor to this story. Zak doesn't bite his tongue around the princess. He says what he thinks. As the group is contemplating the possibility that the princess's ponies purposely left the grounds, the princess says, "My ponies had everything they could have wished for, so what on earth could they have got fed up with?" Zak says, "What indeed?"

     In comparison, Maddie is more accepting of the princess and treats her with kindness. She helps the princess get over her bridge crossing fear, and she doesn't complain when Lyra automatically takes the best seat on the boat.

     An already drawn-out journey turns even longer as the group finds out Gus is also missing. Princess Lyra would like to see Sebastian use up one of his spells to bring the ponies back, but Sebastian’s rule is that no wishes can be granted until Gus is found. To find out where Gus and the other ponies might have gone, Sebastian, Maddie, Zak, and Princess Lyra enlist the help of an eagle-eyed friend plus a semi-magical monkey. The help is handy, but the hazards still come. First there is the magic carpet crash landing -  in the middle of a jungle! There, the friends have to contend with wild monkeys and arrow wielding tree dwellers. Fortunately, Sebastian and his friends don't have to resort to his spells to escape. At this point, family connections and WishMaster status are all they need. With rapport established, Sebastian finds not only where the missing ponies are, but what they are being used for. And the ponies are not alone. People have been kidnapped too. This rescue operation will need quick thinking and co-operation. But a little help from a newly winged pony carrying a heavy bag of "rocks" and some monkeys with a good aim wouldn't hurt either. After powers are redistributed, and thank-yous are given, everyone is able to return home. While some choose to stay in the jungle, the others ride back to Zavania. Back home with her family, Maddie now has more confidence and a new skill- and she can't wait to see Jessica!

     A one page summary of all the books in the "World of Wishes" series can be read at the end of this book. Pony Wishes has ten chapters, and each chapter has one or two black and white illustrations. The illustrations above the chapter titles hint at what's coming inside whereas the in-chapter illustrations show the more dramatic scenes from the story. For example, in the chapter entitled "Diamonds," an illustration shows Zak, the raven, captured and chained right onto the enemy. Most illustrations are half page, but some spread over two pages.

     This book has a very attention-grabbing cover. There's shine and every color of the rainbow on the front. Inside, the illustrations are cartoon-like in feel, and the text is bigger in font. On the bottom of each page, black and white horseshoes and stars surround the page numbers.


Tanya Boudreau is a librarian at the Cold Lake Public Library in Cold Lake, AB.

To comment on this title or this review, send mail to cm@umanitoba.ca.

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The Manitoba Library Association
ISSN 1201-9364
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