Sparkling Jewel (Silver Pony Ranch) by D. L. Green, illustrated by Emily Wallis

Published by Scholastic

Summary: Sisters Tori and Miranda have frequently visited their grandmother’s pony ranch, but this year they’re staying for the whole summer. Nine-year-old Tori loves being outside with the ponies, while her eight-year-old sister prefers playing with the new puppies inside. Tori’s favorite pony is Jewel, but Gran says he’s too wild for her to ride. Meanwhile, Miranda has some difficulties with a puppy named Trouble who would rather visit the ponies in the barn than stay with her brothers and sisters. When Trouble goes missing, the girls work hard to show Gran they’re ready for some new responsibilities. Ages 6-8.

Pros: One of Scholastic’s Branches series for beginning chapter book readers, Silver Pony Ranch is the first to not have at least a touch of fantasy to it. Animal lovers will enjoy reading about Tori and Miranda’s adventures on the ranch, to be continued in Sweet Buttercup, due out in January.

Cons: The illustrations don’t always match the text. For instance, Gran’s dog is described as “her collie, Lady”, but the pictures look more like a sheep dog. And Jewel, “the color of hot chocolate” looks quite light-colored.

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