‘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.’