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The Red Pony

3.41 of 5 stars 3.41  ·  rating details  ·  34,320 ratings  ·  1,090 reviews
Raised on a ranch in northern California, Jody is well-schooled in the hard work and demands of a rancher's life. He is used to the way of horses, too; but nothing has prepared him for the special connection he will forge with Gabilan, a hot-tempered pony his father gives him. With Billy Buck, the hired hand, Jody tends and trains his horse, restlessly anticipating the mom ...more
Paperback, 128 pages
Published March 3rd 2011 by Puffin (first published January 1st 1933)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Jason Koivu
A story about a pretty, pretty precious pony? Hurray! This is going to be giggly-joyous, laughy-good pony times!...What? It's written by John Steinbeck? Fuck. Sorry pony, you or everyone you love is going to die.

Yes, these are tales of living on a ranch in the early days (well, early-ish) of California, but underneath they are more of the same Steinbeck: the vignettes of the hardscrabble life of immigrant farmers.

Specifically, it's second and third generation immigrants, such as seen in Tortil
...more
Michael
Next time you decide to make a printing of The Red Pony, feel free to borrow one of these free blurbs.

"Do you like people hanging around on a farm? Do you like horses and animals and stuff? Then you'll think this book is okay! It has horses, and grass, and farms and stuff, and is an easy read."

Or:

"John Steinbeck is a writer of amazing stature in American literature. He stands head and shoulders above just about anyone, wiping his feet on Faulkner, flicking Mark Twain out of his way like a littl
...more
Sunday
DIRTY CONFESSION: I've wanted to pick up "The Red Pony" since I first read "Matilda" by Roald Dahl. There's that ultra-fabulous scene where Matilda's weasel father rips up the book and calls it trash and so on, and Matilda defends "The Red Pony" by calling it "lovely," and inside I'm imagining all the times I had books taken from me and ripped and burned and thrown away because they were "trash."

Alright, I stopped hyper-ventilaing in the therapist chair and I'm back to finish the book review. T
...more
k.wing
Oct 28, 2007 k.wing rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Steinbeck fans
WARNING! HORSE-LOVERS: DON'T READ THIS BECAUSE YOU THINK IT WILL BE ABOUT HORSES AND DON'T REVIEW IT SAYING THAT THAT'S WHAT YOU EXPECTED BECAUSE I JUST WARNED YOU. I am sorry if you were forced to read this book for school - it would really take the beauty out of it if someone forced you to read The Red Pony. I feel that way about all Steinbeck books actually.

It is a little difficult to get into in the beginning, but overall, this book shows the raw and unpredicible way people deal with their e
...more
Lisa Bodin
I love this book. It's short, succinct, and encapsulates the dramatic, but realistic suffering side of life in three ways: the red pony, the black colt, and Jody's relationship with adults.

The Red Pony's also peppered with moments of human courage, brilliance and love. Jody's devotion to the red pony is sweet, and his idolization of Billy Buck is, I think, a realistic representation of how boys look up to men.
jzhunagev
Steinbeck’s Got a Hold in Me
(A Book Review of John Steinbeck’s The Red Pony)


It all started on a lazy Sunday afternoon, a day I presume to be just like any other. However, what made it a little bit interesting and special, at best unforgettable, can be attributed to one simple man who goes by the name of John Steinbeck, whose unassuming, not over a hundred pages, little book tilted The Red Pony is the ticket all I ever need to beckon me back to that country called the classics, to which I, as of
...more
Alayna
I struggled to finish this book. And it has about 100 tiny little pages. I can read that in an hour or so. And yet, I struggled for at least 5 days to finish this book. In fact, the ONLY reason I forced myself to finish was so I could read the online cliff notes and try and figure out what I missed. What meaning or significance could make it worth my reading. This was not an enjoyable reading experience, to say the least - except for that baffling "you must be kidding" sentiment at the end of ea ...more
brian
halfway into my morning hike there's a small trailer off the side of the trail and the guy who lives there leaves out a bucket of fresh water for passing dogs. it's my favorite part of the walk because jack doesn't lap at the water but dunks his entire snout in there and kinda gulps it down. he then pulls his face from the bucket and for the next thirty yards or so leaves two thin trails of water dripping down from either jowl.

from the red pony:

"At last he walked snorting to the water-trough an
...more
Andy
My reintroduction to Steinbeck began with The Red Pony.

Sure I had read Of Mice and Men and Grapes Of Wrath in High School, but that was a number of years ago, and I can hardly remember either.

I found The Red Pony (a mass market paperback edition) all worn and hidden on one of the bookshelves in the classroom I work in. Apparently before it was my room, the teacher used to use it as a classroom text for 4th graders. The cover was striking and I'd been meaning to start reading some Steinbeck ever
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Jess
I was completely blown away by this short novel. Completely. Blown. Away. I'm not going into a lengthy review here, but let me talk about some points.

Okay, so this novel isn't really about horses. I'm thinking there are a lot of people out there missing the point. The Red Pony isn't what I would call one cohesive novel, but rather a collection of several glimpses into the farm/ranch life of Jody. The whole point of the pony is that Jody is learning to grow up, and he's learning that life isn't
...more
Carol
Well.....this Steinbeck classic was not at all what I was expecting. It depicts the dark side of ranch life and the dreadful way animals are treated, sometimes out of necessity (but still hard to stomach) and other times out of down right meanness and cruelty.

I did not care for father Carl or his young son Jody (at times) and felt sorry for horses, dogs, cats, birds, the old lonely wandering man Gitano coming home to die, and the treatment of Jody's aging grandfather.

Of course, the purpose behin

...more
Rowena
I've learned not to feel guilty about not liking books by great authors. With that being said, I give this book a 2-star rating with no feelings of remorse. It's not a terrible book, I just never really connected with the story. In all honesty I was quite underwhelmed, considering how much I enjoyed Of Mice and Men. I will definitely be reading more of Steinbeck, I'm sure I'll enjoy his others a lot more than this one.
Melissa
Aug 27, 2008 Melissa rated it 3 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: fans of Steinbeck or short stories about ranch life.
Shelves: 2008
I sometimes don’t enjoy Steinbeck because his storylines can make me mad at the world. He’s not really known for happy stories, is he? Having known Steinbeck usually goes from bad situation to worse, I was not expecting a heartwarming horse story a la Misty of Chincoteague when I picked up The Red Pony. I daresay I was right. Staying true to form, it is free and clear of clichés, sentiment, and last minute miracles. If you hated the movie Spirit, you'll be pleased.

The Red Pony is a collection of
...more
Kate
Oct 07, 2007 Kate rated it 1 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: no one
If I could give this less stars I would. It's not about a Red Pony...it doesn't even SYMBOLIZE a red pony, nor does the actual red pony, who turns out to be insignificant, symbolize anything. It's just loooong Seven Years in Tibet-length descriptions of the clouds and landscape. I swear he spent five frikkin' pages on the rancher's moustache. Just awful.
Kira
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Anne  (Booklady) Molinarolo
Steinbeck is wonderful in these 4 loose vignettes that make THE RED PONY a small, but powerful novel. He brings his succinct crisp prose to create life lessons Jody Tiflin must learn without supercilious detail. Readers know Jody is a shy, quiet boy whose sensitivity brings tears to our eyes. He just wants his father’s love; barring that, someone or something that will give him affection. He learns that no man is infallible in life, in remembrance, in death, and there is quiet dignity in everyth ...more
Emily
One of the most vivid books my mom ever read-aloud to me when I was a girl. I still distinctly remember the images that were painted in my mind with this vivid portrait of the rough life of a ranching family.

Jody's need to love and be loved by his brusque father, and the sudden understanding of death and its contrast to life are so stark; it made my sisters and me weep hot tears as my mom read. I still remember the way my heart heaved and ached as I heard the climax of this story.
aPriL eVoLvEs (ex-Groot)
I read this short novel of linked events when I was in the fifth grade. At the time, I didn't like it much. I can see why I disliked it more clearly in reading it now as an adult, even though I think the stories are a good introduction to literary writing for older elementary children. However, I can't imagine a child understanding the book's depths unless given age-appropriate guidance from an adult. Even with that guidance, the book could seem dated or too distant from their present lives with ...more
Paul
John Steinbeck's "The Red Pony" is a concise read about the life lessons of a young boy growing up in the rural life in northern California. At first, the book came across as a dull story of juvenile dreams and innocence within a still, pastoral backdrop, like the literary version of a Thomas Kinkade painting. But as the story progressed, the characters no longer felt boring and flat. Situations on the ranch rile up within these characters some emotional depth, which makes them more interesting. ...more
Nikki
Steinbeck writes beautifully. It doesn't matter what he's writing about, I think I'd read it anyway for the measured, deliberate, crystal-clear prose.

The Red Pony is not really about the pony. I'm sure as a lit student I could find a lot to say about it, but I'm happier sitting back and letting it happen. It's about growing up and coming to understand life, in stages, and as such it has no end: Jody's a little older and wiser at the end than the beginning, but he has a long way to go still too.
Malbadeen
Jul 28, 2011 Malbadeen rated it 3 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: People with strong stomaches and cold hearts
Recommended to Malbadeen by: a dork with a bad memory
This book punched me in the stomach, kicked me in the butt, and stomped on my foot. I'll take partial blame for that though, because it might not have been such a shock had I not listened to my friend's comment on the book. When I mentioned to him that I was reading it he flippantly said, "oh that's a cute book". So imagine my surprise when one gruesome and gut wrenching event after another filled the pages of this story.

I'm not sure if I "liked" the book or not. I am sure that next time my frie
...more
Zanna
Steinbeck doesn't rush, and wastes no words in this cycle of tales about ten year old 'little boy' Jody and his life on a ranch farm with his strict father, mother and Billy Buck the ranch hand. Jody's seemingly simple life is rich in harsh, bitter lessons about loss, death, heritage and fellowship.

Not a word is out of place in this economical work, and everything is foretold from the start. The inevitable approaches, and every cloud, every clod of dirt, every whine of Doubletree Mutt, signals i
...more
Rachel Brown
For artistic merit, I would give this four to five stars. As a reflection of how much I enjoyed it, zero to one. I guess I'll compromise on two.

Yes, I was one of the no doubt many horse-loving girls who got this book foisted on her by some adult who only read the title. Not only - SPOILER - does the pony die in graphically described and prolonged agony, but there is also a really gross description of the pony's owner expressing his grief by beating a vulture to death. (The vulture was eating the
...more
Susan
Spoiler, and a warning if you're about to read this for the reason I did (because you're a kid who likes books about animals): whenever a novel is described as a coming-of-age story, and a child's beloved animal is involved, there's a strong likelihood that you're in Old Yeller / The Yearling territory. Just saying.
J.
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Larry Bassett
This is a book that is meaningful for many different ages. I would be interested in knowing what a 10 or 12 year old (age of the boy in the stories) would take away from it.
Shylyn Ickes


The book I was reading is called, The Red Pony by John Steinbeck. At first I thought it was going to be a boring book by the way it started out but as I kept getting further into the book it started getting a lot better. I would highly recommend everyone to read this book. Once you start reading it you won't be able to stop.

At the begging of the book it was talking about the father giving his son a horse and telling him that he has to take care of him and that he isn't able to ride on yet. So
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Katarina
To be fair, I might have appreciated this book more if I had read it yesterday rather than back in 8th grade. But I don't think I would have rated it much better.

Parts of the narrative remain vividly in my mind, like where Steinbeck describes the braining of a buzzard. Yeah, I don't need that. Ever. Sadly, many of the less graphic, more appealing parts of the story weren't memorable.

I wasn't impressed with the construction of the narrative, either. It's broken down into 4 more-or-less distinct
...more
Morgan Bancroft
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Realini
The Red Pony by John Steinbeck


Having read The Grapes of Wrath, I knew Steinbeck as a writer of serious, rather gloomy literature. Not that I did not love both the book and the movie in which Henry Fonda plays an excellent leading role.
The Grapes of Wrath is placed among the best ten books on the Modern Library list of the Best 100 novels.
This story of a white horse is different, even if some sad, unfortunate events take place here as well. It seems that this story is destined for children.
This
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John Steinbeck III was an American writer. He wrote the Pulitzer Prize-winning novel The Grapes of Wrath, published in 1939 and the novella Of Mice and Men, published in 1937. In all, he wrote twenty-five books, including sixteen novels, six non-fiction books and several collections of short stories.

In 1962 Steinbeck received the Nobel Prize for Literature.

Steinbeck grew up in the Salinas Valley
...more
More about John Steinbeck...
Of Mice and Men The Grapes of Wrath East of Eden The Pearl Cannery Row

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“No matter how good a man is, there's always some horse can pitch him.” 4 likes
“The bird looked much smaller dead than alive. Jody felt a little mean pain in his stomach, so he took out his pocketknife and cut off the bird's head. Then he disemboweled it, and took off its wings; and finally he threw all the pieces into the brush. He didn't care about the bird, or its life, but he knew what older people would say if they had seen him kill it; he was ashamed because of their potential opinion.” 2 likes
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