The Winter Pony
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The Winter Pony

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4.0 of 5 stars 4.00  ·  rating details  ·  133 ratings  ·  52 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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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 475)
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Philip
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
Laurie
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 :(
Ellen
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...more
Becky
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...more
Hilary
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 wrenching...it's a well written adventure story about a true event in history.
Deedee
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.
Rachel
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jensen Gomez
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...more
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.
Vicki
A truly "chilling" story from a pony's perspective to be the first to reach the pole.
Stephanie A.
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
Andrea at Reading Lark
Review Posted on Reading Lark 7/7/13: http://readinglark.blogspot.com/2013/...

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...more
Ms. Yingling
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
Mara
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
Rachel
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
Linda
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...more
Samantha Sumner
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...more
Anne
Jan 31, 2012 Anne rated it 4 of 5 stars
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
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
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...more
Virginia Brace
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
Yapha
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
Gloria
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
Heidi
The story of Robert Scott's quest to be the first man to reach the South Pole is told by a white pony. A much shorter parallel story is told of Roald Amundsen's successful journey to the same location. The hardships of the journey are detailed, from the harsh weather to whales breaking the ice to drown the ponies to the mercy killing of some of the ponies. This is not a story for gentle readers as there is much grief throughout the journey. But it is a wonderful tale of love between animal and m...more
Mackie
This book makes me cry a lot but I still love it.
Gina
Iain Lawrence has written a beautiful juvenile historical novel about Robert Falcon Scott's doomed expedition to reach the South Pole. What makes this story so involving, is that Mr. Lawrence tells this story from the point of view of Jimmy Pigg, one of the white ponies who made the arduous journey. This story is rich in historical detail and humanely told. The voice of Jimmy Pigg is believable, heartbreaking and transcendant. Wonderful for older children who love animals and adventure. Be warne...more
Dot
Jan 04, 2012 Dot added it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Becky
Ages 10-14. This is a pony's-eye-view of Robert Scott's race to the South Pole. I didn't think I'd like this story, but I love Iain Lawrence's other books, so I thought I'd give it a try. And I barely minded that an animal was telling the story. If you know your Pole history, you know this story ends badly, and it's not a gentle read. Sensitive animal lovers will not enjoy it. But I thought it was interesting to learn the details of this quest through the eyes of a loyal and dedicated beast of b...more
Rachel Seigel
As I've come to expect from Iain Lawrence, this is a beautifully written and beautifully told story. It's a fascinating, little-covered aspect of history, told from a very unique perspective- a pony's point of view. The only reason I didn't give it 5 stars is because it's such a heartbreaking story. The deaths of the ponies may be difficult for sensitive readers to handle, but as a read-aloud or read-together book, I think children will be enthralled with this story.
Jennifer Doleanu-Lawrence
Loved this book. It is a sad story but it is reality. I cant imagine how expeditions unravel but common sense says theyre not a five star vacation.I liked reading it through the pony's view <3 I always wonder what would the animals be thinking...feeling..what goes through their beautiful minds.
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