A Beloved Horseback Adventure: Read our Review of The Quicksand Pony by Alison Lester

A Beloved Horseback Adventure: Read our Review of The Quicksand Pony by Alison Lester

Biddy, I’m sorry, we’re going to have to leave her.’

‘What?’ Biddy struggled out of the quicksand. ‘You can’t leave her! The tide’s coming in. She’ll drown!’

Bella, the pony, is trapped and Biddy is forced to go on without her. The next day, the only signs of Bella are hoofprints in the sand with small footprints and the paw marks of a dog. Who could be so small and alone on this remote beach?

Biddy’s search takes her into the wild, secret country where she discovers the truth about a mysterious disappearance that happened many years ago.

Alison Lester’s picture books are loved by families all around the world. In this gripping adventure story, set in the Australian bush she knows so well, she reveals herself as a born storyteller.

The Quicksand Pony is a gripping horseback adventure that makes for a great introduction to novels for young readers. With two plots cleverly intertwined, it pulls at your heartstrings, keeping you capitated from start to finish. From survival to freedom, and horses to humans, this story motivates and inspires kids to tackle the journey of life headfirst, while taking on the challenges they face in a sweet and sensitive way.

A number of Lester’s own personal experiences inspired this story – including the part about the quicksand. She grew up on a farm by the sea, and first rode a horse as a baby in her father’s arms. The inclusion of Lester’s own photographs woven throughout adds to the sentimentality of the novel – it’s vivid, poignant, timeless and refreshing.

Lester’s picture books mix imaginary worlds with everyday life, encouraging children to believe in themselves and celebrate the differences that make them special, and The Quicksand Pony continues this tradition but for an older reader. Tightly-paced with the perfect dose of suspense for readers aged 8+, this story has the makings of an Australian classic that children and parents alike will delight in.

This idea of nostalgia and sentiment is echoed by Lester in her note to the reader at the end of novel, stating:

I loved writing this story as it was very easy to lose myself in Biddy’s world. I could describe what the world looked and felt like because I knew it so well. I would just close my eyes and imagine riding down the beach or rubbing down a horse at the end of the day. Riding on the beach is a lovely feeling, and the story about the quicksand is true.’

Reviews

An Australian Children's Classic: Read an Extract from The Quicksand Pony by Alison Lester

Review | Extract

30 March 2021

An Australian Children's Classic: Read an Extract from The Quicksand Pony by Alison Lester

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Publisher details

The Quicksand Pony
Author
Alison Lester
Publisher
Allen & Unwin
Genre
Children’s Fiction
Released
02 March, 2021

Synopsis

But the pony is trapped and Biddy is forced to go on without her. Next day the only signs of Bella are hoofprints in the sand with small footprints and the paw marks of a dog. Who could be so small and be alone on this remote beach? Biddy's search takes her into wild, secret country where she discovers the truth about a mysterious disappearance that happened many years ago. Alison Lester's picture books are loved by families all around the world. In this timeless Australian children's classic, she proves herself as a born storyteller.
Alison Lester
About the author

Alison Lester

Alison Lester is one of Australia's most popular and bestselling creators of children's books. Her picture books mix imaginary worlds with everyday life, encouraging children to believe in themselves and celebrate the differences that make them special. In a career spanning decades, Alison Lester has written many books, and won numerous prestigious awards, including the Children's Book Council of Australia (CBCA) Picture Book of the Year Award for her much-loved classic Are We There Yet? and the CBCA Eve Pownall Book of the Year Award for One Small Island. Her picture books include Kissed by the MoonRunning with the HorsesSophie Scott Goes South and My Dog Bigsy – to name just a few. Alison Lester became Australia's first Children's Book Laureate in 2012, a position shared with Boori Monty Pryor. In 2016, Alison was awarded the Dromkeen Medal for her outstanding achievement in the creation of Australian children's and young adult literature, and in 2018 she became the first children's book writer to win the Melbourne Prize for Literature, for her contribution to Australian literature and cultural and intellectual life.  Alison lives on a farm in the Victorian countryside. She spends part of each year travelling to schools around Australia, helping students and teachers develop their own stories.

Books by Alison Lester

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