Cricket O’Conner lives on a horse ranch, but she’s decided not to get attached to horses any more. As soon as they finish basic training, her mother sells them and Cricket is left once again without a horse of her own. To her great dismay, her summer job will be working with an especially opinionated blue roan.
The threat of wildfire has her increasingly on edge. Even buying a uniquely painted model horse does little to help Cricket’s growing unease. There’s something odd about the little horse. Is it just her imagination, or does it sometimes seem to talk to her?
During a fierce electrical storm, lightning ignites a wildfire that quickly gets out of control. Cricket and her mother rush to help rescue thirty cats and a litter of Border collies for a neighbor, but their own ranch is at grave risk. Two valuable O’Conner colts have gone missing, the sheriff has issued an evacuation order, and Cricket is forced to make a hard choice.
Should she help her mother defend the ranch house and barn from flames? Or should she listen to the mysterious voice of the Fire Pony as it urges her to search for the missing colts in the face of oncoming fire?
. . . a pulse-pounding adventure that will appeal to all kids who love suspenseful stories . . .
—Chris Putnam-Pouliot, Director, Frances C. Richmond Middle School Library
. . . a fast-paced, modern Western adventure with feisty Cricket O’Conner and her horse Gonna Be. Horse-loving kids will be swept away with Fire Pony.
—Precious McKenzie, Assistant Professor of English, Rocky Mountain College,
children’s book author, SCBWI Montana 2019 Regional Advisor
I was very taken with the story, the characters, and the tension-filled moments. I truly couldn’t put it down. . . . Sheila Ruble’s expert knowledge of animals—most especially horses—is evident without stepping in the way of the tension-filled narrative. Richly drawn characters populate the evocative landscape. This is a wonderful read for any middle grader but especially those who love horses.
—Janet Fox, award-winning author of fiction and non-fiction for children,
including a 2017 SCBWI Crystal Kite award