Recommended Age, Grade, and Reading Levels
- Age: 8 to 10
- Grade: 3 to 5
- Reading age: 8 to 10
If Willie could have his dream, he would go to Sable Island and ride free over the sand dunes on the back of a wild horse. Instead, at eleven years old, Willie has to go to work in the coal mines of Cape Breton, hardly ever seeing the light of day. But with the help of Gem, the gentle pit pony he works with in the mine, he discovers that things aren't always as bad as they seem.
Pit Pony is a beloved classic of children's literature, and has been turned into a movie and a television series. For this new illustrated edition, the story has been retold in an abbreviated version for young readers and is vividly illustrated by acclaimed illustrator Sydney Smith.
About the authors
JOYCE BARKHOUSE is the author of many short stories and books for children, including Anna's Pet (written with Margaret Atwood), which was made into a puppet play and toured internationally, and The Witch of Port Lajoie, which has been translated in four languages. She received the Order of Nova Scotia and was made a Member of the Order of Canada for her children's books and work in literacy.
JANET BARKHOUSE has retired from several fascinating worlds, including theatre, academe, education. Her most recent books are Sable Island -- Imagine! and Pit Pony: The Picture Book. She lives in Clearland, Nova Scotia.
Sydney Smith was born in rural Nova Scotia and has been drawing from an early age. Since graduating from NSCAD University, he has illustrated multiple children’s books, including the highly acclaimed wordless picture book Sidewalk Flowers, conceived by Jon Arno Lawson, which won a Governor General’s Award, was named a New York Times Best Illustrated Children’s Book and has been long-listed for the Kate Greenaway Medal. He is also the illustrator of Grant and Tillie Go Walking by Monica Kulling and The White Cat and the Monk by Jo Ellen Bogart, both highly acclaimed. Sydney has received a number of other awards for his illustrations, including the Lillian Shepherd Memorial Award for Excellence in Illustration. He now lives in Toronto and works in a shared studio space in Chinatown.
- Commended, Canadian Children's Book Centre Best Books for Kids & Teens Selection
"Smith's drawings charmingly capture the heart of the story: joy and tragedy, love and cruelty... an exceptional book" Recommended.
Canadian Children's Book News
"Pit Pony: The Picture Book captures the essence of the novel perfectly...mirroring a time and place in Nova Scotia's past and capturing a boy's wonder at the majestic spirit of the wild ponies of Sable Island"
Atlantic Books Today
"Through the rich text and equally informative illustrations, Pit Pony: The Picture Book will help younger readers learn about the lives of coal mining families in eastern Canada in the early 1900s."
Pit PonyIn his dreams Willie rides on the back of a wild horse over the sand dunes, but in reality he works in the coal mines of Cape Breton, hardly ever seeing the light of day. With the help of Gem, a gentle pit pony, he discovers that things aren’t always as bad as they seem and miracles are possible, even in a coal mine. Originally published in 1990 by Gage Educational Publishing (Our Choice 1990).
Source: The Canadian Children’s Book Centre. Best Books for Kids & Teens. 2011.
Other titles by Joyce Barkhouse
Other titles by Janet Barkhouse
Other titles by Sydney Smith
It's Up to Us
Building a Brighter Future for Nature, People & Planet (The Children's Terra Carta)
Canada Year by Year - Revised Edition
I Talk Like a River
Small in the City
Knock About with the Fitzgerald-Trouts
A Rebellious Shadow