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The Winter Pony

really liked it 4.0  ·  Rating Details ·  203 Ratings  ·  63 Reviews
In the forests of Siberia, in the first years of the 20th century, a white pony runs free with his herd. But his life changes forever when he's captured by men. Years of hard work and cruelty wear him out. When he's chosen to be one of 20 ponies to accompany the Englishman Robert Falcon Scott on his quest to become the first to reach the South Pole, he doesn't know what to ...more
Hardcover, 256 pages
Published November 8th 2011 by Delacorte Books for Young Readers (first published January 1st 2011)
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(showing 1-30 of 640)
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My first five-star review in some time, but well-deserved. This was truly a brilliant concept, beautifully executed and with a truly moving narration by Edoardo Ballerinini that makes this a solid book-on-CD recommendation. "The Winter Pony" tells the amazing and at times horrific story of Captain Robert Scott's attempt to reach the South Pole from the point of view of one of the Manchurian ponies brought along to pull their sledges, (who knew?). Although I’ve never been inside a pony’s head, th ...more

Oh God, why would you bring ponies to the South Pole? Why?!

I need some ice cream right now! *Goes to freezer* Well crap, we don't have any. :\

Wow. That was probably the saddest book I've ever read, and that includes Black Beauty. The Winter Pony is the new Black Beauty but in the South Pole. But, like Black Beauty, it'll have a special place in my heart, because this book is a masterpiece. Heartbreaking prose that tells the story of a pony named James Pigg, and the race to the Pole.

I actually w
Apr 04, 2012 Laurie rated it did not like it
This book should be removed from the childrens section, it was the most depressing book I have ever read. If Children read this they will be scarred for life. War Horse was s comedy compared to this book :(
Jan 03, 2013 Deedee rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Wow, I stayed up all night listening to this. A story about Scott’s fatal expedition to the south pole and his use of ponies to pull his heavy sleds, as told through the eyes of one of the ponies named “James Pigg”. There are a few humorous moments, but otherwise a very moving, sad story, but so very good.
Andrea at Reading Lark
Review Posted on Reading Lark 7/7/13:

I picked this one up at the library because this past school year I had a student who was crazy about horses. I kept trying to find things for her to read and thought this might be a good fit. I also love well done historical fiction and knew virtually nothing about the explorations to the South Pole. I thought I could kill two birds with one stone: find something for the student and learn something.

I did learn a lot a
Jan 16, 2012 Linda rated it it was amazing
Shelves: horses
One of the saddest and most beautiful books about horses that I've read. Intrigued by the lovely cover, as well as the interesting subject matter - two teams racing to be the first to reach the South Pole a century ago, I couldn't help but shake my head in disgust at the men who thought horses would do well in such an environment.

Told from the point of view of a Mongolian pony with the unlikely name of James Pigg, this is a mostly accurate account of what actually happened on this doomed trip. T
Jul 17, 2013 Ellen added it
I feel I could never in good conscience recommend this book to any young reader because it is so, so unbelievably sad, made even worse when you are an adult and you know how the story ends. It is beautifully written as Iain Lawrence is a masterful writer but just when you think the story can't get any sadder, it does, and then it does again, and again. I can't imagine any young person making it all the way through to the end.
And, I further have to add that the cover image is a dis-service to th
Jensen Gomez
Feb 07, 2014 Jensen Gomez rated it it was amazing
Shelves: horses
This book is probably one of my new faverote books. It was truly amazing and heartwarming. I would recomend it to anyone who likes horses. It was deffinatly a sad story and at the end its really sad.

This story is about a horse who was captured when he was really little, he was taken and trained harshly. He moves from home to home, working to hard then getting sold again. By the time he is 8 he was already worn out and "old". Then he was chosen as one of the 20 ponies to travel to the south pole
Sarah Smithers
Jun 14, 2015 Sarah Smithers rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Stephanie A.
Apr 20, 2014 Stephanie A. rated it really liked it
Tragedies from start to finish, pretty much, but definitely offered an intriguing look (from a very different perspective) on the race to the South Pole, Captain Scott version. Especially if you don't know much about the story in the first place (guilty). I didn't even know there were ponies on that expedition. But it turns out that every pony mentioned in the book was a real member of the expedition, and the book is meticulously researched to retell as many events as possible in the most access ...more
Ian P
Feb 20, 2016 Ian P rated it did not like it
Recommends it for: No one
Recommended to Ian by: Grandma
I am a ten year old and I read The Winter Pony. At first I had high hopes for it after I had read the back of the novel. It starts off like many books were the main characters life sucks, but in most of those it turns out all right, except in The Winter Pony it just gets better then it gets worse than before. The main character gets captured by Romans and is basically a slave. Then he gets sold and he makes it half way to the South Pole and turns around and heads back to camp. The very next day ...more
Apr 05, 2014 Becky rated it liked it
Shelves: 2014reviews
By the time I was halfway through The Winter Pony, I knew I had made a mistake, a big mistake. It isn't just that all the animals die, the ponies, the dogs, and lots of other Antarctic animals that were killed for food or fur, or both. It isn't just the fact that almost all the human characters die too.

I think it's the fact, and this is purely subjective on my part, that it was all so pointless. What could possibly be heroic or noble about starving to death and/or freezing to death? For what di
May 04, 2015 Nora rated it it was amazing
This is a great book that is also really sad. It’s about a pony who grew up in the wild until he was captured and “trained” by people who hit him with whips and broke bottles on him whenever he did something that the didn’t like or whenever they were angry. Eventually he gets sold to a man who is buying horses for a race to the South Pole against another person. But no one quite understands what getting to the pole means until they get to Antarctica and have ti fight to survive against killer wh ...more
Jan 09, 2013 Hilary rated it it was amazing
This book is a difficult and sad read told from the point of view of a pony participating in the race between two explorers trying to reach the South Pole first. The pony is treated kindly as possible under the dreadful conditions. How foolish of man to think ponies could survive such cruel, unrelenting, intolerable elements of nature! Deeply moving and heart's a well written adventure story about a true event in history.
Nov 23, 2013 Rachel rated it did not like it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jeff Whittingham
I really liked this book. As I told my daughter, it's like Black Beauty and War Horse - a sad book told from the perspective of the horse. It did make me want to read about the real South Pole expedition.
Mar 26, 2012 Vicki rated it it was amazing
A truly "chilling" story from a pony's perspective to be the first to reach the pole.
Ms. Yingling
Mar 29, 2012 Ms. Yingling rated it liked it
A white pony is taken from the wild and used in Robert Scott's 1910 expedition to reach the South Pole before his rival Amundsen. The conditions are brutal, but after several years with horse breakers who are very cruel, James Pigg, as the horse is called by the men on the expedition, is pleased to be treated kindly and ready to work hard for the men. In alternating sequences, the preparations and progress of the two explorers are detailed. The horses and men all battle the elements the best the ...more
Jan 21, 2012 Mara rated it really liked it
The Winter Pony completely outdoes Black Beauty when it comes to the sad factor. I knew this story would be depressing even before I began it, but I didn't really count on just how much it really would be. Told from James Pigg's point of view, we get an different sort of look at Captain Scott's South Pole expedition: from the pony's eyes. Iain Lawrence must understand ponies, because he captured the loyal hearts of these unique creatures perfectly - their intelligence, their quirky personalities ...more
Jan 07, 2012 Rachel rated it it was amazing
The Winter Pony tells of the story of the race to be the first to the South Pole seen through the eyes of a white pony named James Brigg. A pony is born in the wilderness and the safety of his heard but one day men capture him and he only knows cruelty and hardness for the first eight years of his life. Then he gets sold to Captain Scott and is used to pull sleds in the desperate race to be the first to reach the South Pole before the captain's rival, Roald Amundensen. Will he reach the South Po ...more
Samantha Sumner
Aug 03, 2012 Samantha Sumner rated it really liked it
If you like reading about explorations that are true stories and have sad endings, then you should read this book. It is called The Winter Pony by Iain Lawrence. But do not read this book if you love horses. I love horses and I was in shock at the end of this book.

This book is told from the perspective of an Icelandic pony about the adventures of his life from when he was born as a wild colt to when he died on an expedition working for men. It was an expedition to reach and explore the South Pol
Jan 31, 2012 Anne rated it really liked it
Shelves: ya
At the turn of the last century, there was the romance of exploration. All around the world there was titillation at the exploits of bold explorers, and no more so than for the men who would race to reach the South Pole: Britain's Robert Falcon Scott and Norway's, Roald Amundsen. Each approached the challenge of reaching the Pole differently. Based on his experiences in the Northern Arctic, Amundsen chose to travel light with dogs. Scott envisioned a more complicated scientific expedition which ...more
Darlene Foster
Jan 15, 2012 Darlene Foster rated it it was amazing
I loved this heartbreaking story of Captain Scott's fatal journey to the South Pole, told from the point of view of one of the ponies he took with him. This is a well written book and the author obviuosly put much research and heart into this story. You can't help but fall in love with James Pigg, the pony from Siberia, as he tries his best to help Captain Scott and his dedicated team reach their goal. If you already know the end, you will still find yourself cheering for man and beast as they s ...more
Stefan Bachmann
Feb 04, 2013 Stefan Bachmann rated it it was amazing
Sad and haunting. It's weird that Iain Lawrence isn't better known. I was a huuuuge fan of his "The Wreckers" in grade school and so I picked this one up despite not really knowing anything about the subject matter and not really caring for pony stories in general

GOOD IDEA. Srsly, you should read it. The subject matter is Captain Scott's ill-fated race to the South Pole told through the eyes of one of the ponies he took with him, and it's fantastic.

The first fifty pages are maybe a *tiny* bit ch
I was surprised that this was not a typical horse book! This is the intense story of the first groups of people, dogs and ponies to reach the South Pole. They undergo brutal conditions, and often brutal deaths. The story is told with sensitivity, and often sadness, from the point of view of the Pony on the front cover, called James Pigg, who is devoted to the men he works with. If you like true stories of adventure, danger, and stories about the exploration of our globe, you may enjoy this story ...more
Virginia Brace
Apr 30, 2012 Virginia Brace rated it it was ok
Shelves: junior-fiction
This is marked Historical Fiction because the pony, James Pigg tells the story of Captain Scott's 1910 attempt to reach the South Pole using motor sledges, dogs, and Russian ponies. If junior readers can accept the idea of a pony understanding the feelings of his handlers and his fellow work ponies, and you can accept the frequent death and suffering of ponies and men, and you can accept the descriptions of the hungry and vicious dogs and the horrors of months in the Antarctic you will learn som ...more
Sep 22, 2012 Yapha rated it really liked it
For the most part, I really enjoyed this book about Robert Falcon Scott's race to the South Pole as told by one of the ponies he took along. The story is told realistically, and does not sugar coat the agony the explorers and ponies faced as they attempted this treachery journey. I was fascinated with the description of the harshness of Antarctica and the multitude of preparations they needed to make to reach the Pole. Be warned -- there is no happy ending here, not for Scott and not for the pon ...more
Aug 02, 2012 Gloria rated it really liked it
This was a truly good read. Meant for adolescent readers, I think any adult would be drawn in to the story of one of Scott's ponies, told from the perspective of James Pigg. The intense cold, the struggle to work in the harsh environment, the limited knowledge of what was happening, through it all the pony remained steadfast. I knew the whole effort was futile, having read a lot of accounts of the race to the Pole, but still I wanted a different outcome. The author does not spare us but in telli ...more
Apr 29, 2016 Barbara rated it it was amazing
Shelves: youth
Read as a potential BOB title.
Amazing story about South Pole expedition told through the pony's POV.
Wonderful historical fiction however it is very sad.
I really liked this at this beggining then in the middle i started getting bored but in the last chapter it really grabbed my attention
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