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.
Although former teacher JOYCE BARKHOUSE wrote stories for many years, she was sixty-one when her first book was published. She went on to win many awards for excellence in writing, including the Order of Nova Scotia and the Order of Canada for her contributions to children's literature. Well known for her historical fiction, she achieved her greatest success with Pit Pony. She died in 2012 at the age of ninety-eight. JANET BARKHOUSE is Joyce's daughter and has retired from several fascinating worlds — theatre, academe, education — and is now writing herself. No stranger to Sable Island horses, she is the author of Sable Island — Imagine! She lives in Clearland, Nova Scotia. SYDNEY SMITH is an illustrator born and bred in Nova Scotia. He attended the Nova Scotia College of Art and Design and has been in Halifax since receiving his BFA in 2006. Since then, he has collaborated with many musicians and authors, including two children's books with Sheree Fitch. He was awarded the Mayor's Award for Mabel Murple in 2011.
“Readers are gifted with an array of emotions through Sydney Smith's incredibly realistic ink and watercolour illustrations.... The story is visually captivating and textually engaging as, through the eyes of young Willie, it educates readers on the hardships and conditions of a 1902 Cape Breton coal-mining town.” Recommended.
"Smith's drawings charmingly capture the heart of the story: joy and tragedy, love and cruelty... an exceptional book" Recommended.
"Sydney Smith's charcoal and watercolour illustrations perfectly capture the time period and setting... The harsh realities of working in a mine are evocatively described." Rated G, good, even great at times, generally useful!
"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 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"