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The Red Pony

3.45  ·  Rating details ·  47,832 ratings  ·  2,214 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, 95 pages
Published March 3rd 2011 by Puffin (first published 1937)
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Andros Nobel Prize, National Book Award. Pulitzer Prize, Presidential Medal of Freedom, Best American Play
This question contains spoilers… (view spoiler)
s It is implied that the young foal is still alive but we don't know for sure.…moreIt is implied that the young foal is still alive but we don't know for sure.(less)

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Muhtasin Oyshik
The Red Pony by John Steinbeck

Steinbeck has always done really well when it comes to describing human emotions. In this novella, there are four chapters. And each one can be defined as a standalone but all connected. It is an engaging and very well-written story. It has some depressing moments. However, throughout the tale, it explores many things, especially about human relationships with nature.
No matter how good a man is, there's always some horse can pitch him.

Good read.
Jason Koivu
Oct 03, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: fiction
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
Ahmad Sharabiani
The Red Pony, John Steinbeck

The Red Pony is an episodic novella written by American writer John Steinbeck in 1933.

The stories in the book are tales of a boy named Jody Tiflin. The book has four different stories about Jody and his life on his father's California ranch.

Other main characters include:
Carl Tiflin – Jody's father;
Billy Buck – an expert in horses and a working hand on the ranch;
Mrs. Tiflin – Jody's mother;
Jody's grandfather – Mrs. Tiflin's father, who has a history of crossing t
May 06, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book was featured on Shabby Sunday @

I can still remember reading this book for the first time when I was in junior high school and I didn't like it. From the look of the cover and title, you'd think you'd be reading a happy little novella about a boy and his horse, but it's so much more than that.

The Red Pony is a collection of four short stories about a 10-year-old boy named Jody and his life on a ranch with his family. As time moves forward and he
Henry Avila
Sometime in the early 1930's, on an isolated small ranch, in northern California's long, rugged, Salinas Valley, a boy of ten, mischievous Jody Tiflin, lives with his parents, stern father Carl, and the equally tough, but loving mother Ruth, they are poor like everyone else, in the area, yet manage to eke out a living, their only hired hand the very capable Billy Buck, an expert in taking care of horses...Two dogs, four cats, six horses and the same amount of cows, many pigs, and more chickens, ...more
Jun 25, 2014 rated it really liked it
You can't protect children from pain.

That is a painful realisation in itself for most parents of my generation. We tend to feel the need to shield our beloved sons and daughters from the more disturbing aspects of life and death as long as possible, and that includes thinking carefully about the reading materials we give them or put on the curriculum in school.

This became very evident to me the other day when I held The Red Pony in my hand, pondering on the harshness of the message, the sadne
Jul 22, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The Red Pony is a well-written and beautifully descriptive book about a young boy, Jody, and his life while being raised on a ranch in northern California. The stories in this classic literature covers the lessons Jody learns about life, death, ways of nature and, particularly, the ways of man.

John Steinbeck describes the life on the ranch so well and vividly. These stories appear simple at the start, but as we go further we realize that they are deep and highly meaningful.

John Steinbeck
Michael Finocchiaro
My 7yo daughter hung in there for Ch 1, but with the unexpected sad ending, she didn't wish to continue. I went on to finish the last 3 chapters which were nearly as depressing as the first one. It is beautifully written as Steinbeck usually is, but also incredibly devoid of hope. The message seems to be, outside of your family, don't get attached to anything because it will betray you or die. I felt the father character Carl Tiflin was particularly heartless and Billy Buck, the hired hand, a bi ...more
Aug 24, 2010 rated it liked it
Shelves: literature, 1900-1949
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."


"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
I don't think I could read a Steinbeck novel by the fire with a glass of wine. No, more like on the back porch wearing old jeans and a work shirt, because you feel like you may get your jeans dirty and your boots dusty, and maybe even a little blood on your shirt. That's the power of his writing, his characters and settings; he will draw you in, even if you don't want to be. Not much fun inside a Steinbeck novel, at least the ones I've read. That kind of power is on display here in The Red Pony. ...more
3.5. This is such a powerful and well-written set of stories. I could taste the dust and blood of farm life depicted by Steinbeck. I went into this book blind, having read no blurbs nor reviews, expecting an uplifting story. Just look at that adorable cover. What I discovered inside this book was very different from what I expected.

Jody, our 10 year old protagonist lives on a ranch in California with his mom, dad and the ranch hand Billy. Farm life is rough. Jody lives through tragedy, disappoi
Not As I Remembered It 66 Years Ago.

I read this as a child, and I cried. It may have been the first real novel that I had ever read, as I was actually6 into reading comic books at that age.

My brother was reading The Grapes of Wrath at that same time and was asking our mother if it were true about the dust bowl and depression and what the people went through. It was, she said.

My father had given my older brother a collection of John Steinbeck books, so the reason we chose him to read. I grew to l
Aug 09, 2007 rated it really liked it
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
Sep 25, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Timothy Urges
Mar 13, 2020 rated it it was amazing
“It was a whole bunch of people made into one big crawling beast. And I was the head. It was westering and westering. Every man wanted something for himself, but the big beast that was all of them wanted only westering. I was the leader, but if I hadn’t been there, someone else would have been the head. The thing had to have a head.
“Under the little bushes the shadows were black at white noonday. When we saw the mountains at last, we cried—all of us. But it wasn’t getting here that mattered, it
Dec 09, 2008 rated it it was ok
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
Who captures the disappoint and tragedy of everyday life like Steinbeck? The Red Pony takes place on a farm (and for those of you who have never spent time on a real farm, I can tell you that life is hard and nature is cruel). The boy, Jody, is coming of age and being faced with what it is to be human, to cope with loss, to watch the death of dreams, and to do this in the shadow of a father who tolerates no sentimentality. The last section in this series of tales in Jody's life is the most poign ...more
Jul 25, 2020 rated it really liked it
Here are four interconnected stories about a ten-year-old boy, Jody Tiflin. He lives on a ranch not far from Salinas in Monterey County, California.

As the title indicates, one story is about a red pony--given to Jody by his father. The second story is about an elderly Mexican who comes to the ranch, explains that he was born there and asks to remain until his death. This, Jody’s father refuses. The third story is again about horses—if Jody agrees to care for the neighbor’s mare, he will earn th
Lisa Bodin
Sep 11, 2007 rated it really liked it
Shelves: booksread
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.
The Bibliophile Doctor
I read "of mice and men" of John Steinbeck long time back. I immediately fell in love with him & I never stopped after that.

I pick up a book of John's once in while. What is so special about John, you might ask? John wrote beautiful tragedies. Heart wrenching, goose-bumping & tear jerking tragedies & I'm a sucker for tragedies. Big time.

John won the 1962 Nobel Prize in Literature "for his realistic & imaginative writings, combining as they do sympathetic humor & keen social perception."

Coming t
May 21, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I was feeling really conflicted about this novel until the last quarter, when I started to understood the scope of what Steinbeck was trying to say.

On the surface, the story is simply a look into the life of a young boy growing up on a farm. Underneath however is the angst of an entire generation; a generation that felt they could never live up to the legendary exploits of their elders, who had ultimately fulfilled manifest destiny.

And then comes another disquiet - what else was left for them t
Jenny (Reading Envy)
I hated this book when I was required to read it, and as it was I remember reading it alone in the library in 7th grade and writing a paper because the class was reading a book I had already read. Suffice to say I'm enjoying Steinbeck more now. ...more
Mar 19, 2013 rated it it was ok
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. ...more
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
Jul 09, 2017 rated it really liked it
I'm not sure what John Steinbeck had in mind when he wrote these four tales and put them in a bundle. A novella? A collection of short stories?  The foundation of a multigenerational epic novel? These stories are connected by setting and characters but the book lacks the narrative drive of Steinbeck's short masterworks, Of Mice and Men and The Pearl.  Something is missing...a fifth story, perhaps?  Unlike Ernest Hemingway's similarly patched-together novella To Have and Have Not, which moves for ...more
Jul 02, 2014 rated it liked it
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

Jan 21, 2008 rated it really liked it
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
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
David R. Dowdy
May 10, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: drama, classic
John Steinbeck’s The Red Pony is a sweet book about a ten-year old boy named Jody who lives with his family on a ranch near the Gabilan mountain range in northern California. The book is novella length and has four chapters although each is a distinct story.

Set in the period following the last wagon trains from the East, this is a homestead Western that’s concerned with the family’s daily routines. Mainly, though, it’s about the world seen through a boy’s eyes. There is nutrition for the soul as
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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

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“No matter how good a man is, there's always some horse can pitch him.” 11 likes
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