Mrs. Cox is moving and must sell “Mr. Crumbs”. Laura’s parents will “think about it” if she can prove herself. Laura must raise money for six month’s of expenses, and find a place to keep him, by Christmas. With her brother and two friends enlisted, they set about planning a budget, sources of income (including a major bazaar), and a stable. The plot is tied closely to these practical matters, but suspenseful enough to keep one’s interest. Will the children manage?
This story will appeal to children who love horses, but it offers deeper value. The main character, Emily, realizes she must work with her brother and two friends if she is to acquire Mr.Crumbs. Although her parents offer limited help, it is clear they cannot afford the cost of owning a horse.
The children struggle to learn what their expenses will be, how they will obtain the money and where they will keep the horse. Each major money-making activity results in an accounting that brings awareness of new considerations and costs. They are steadfast in resolving each complication. Particularly industrious, and well detailed, is their idea of a bazaar –all proceeds to the Mr. Crumbs fund.
The biggest obstacle is finding a place to board Mr. Crumbs; nothing seems to be available. One day they assist a short-tempered recluse, a Mr. Jakes, who has broken his leg in caring for his dog. The children spend their saved money to treat his medically compromised dog, so Jakes decides not to charge the children for a spare stall in his barn. At last, everything is put in place.
Although its conclusion weakens its message, The Christmas Pony is an easy, enjoyable read that will add ‘horsey’ terms to a child’s vocabulary. More usefully, young readers are shown the numerous lengths the children pursued, to truly earn Mr. Crumbs.