Bruce Pascoe, Mrs Whitlam, Magabala Books, June 2016, 80pp., $16.99 (pbk), ISBN 9781925360240
Marnie Clark loves horses and dreams of owning one, but her family cannot afford to buy one. She can hardly believe it when she is offered a horse for free, albeit under tragic circumstances. Mrs Margaret Whitlam might have a funny name and be part Clydesdale, with huge feathery feet and big hindquarters, but she is an affectionate and loyal friend. Marnie is thrilled to have her to look after and to ride. Although she is picked on by snobby pony club girls, Marnie and Maggie prove what they are made of in an emergency situation.
This is an enjoyable story for emerging readers. The chapters are short, making it easy to get through for the newly independent reader. It will obviously appeal more to girls, with the horse on the cover, the pink tones, and a female protagonist. Although the story is quite simple, it is satisfying and Marnie is an appealing narrator. This story will do well in public and primary school libraries. Recommended.
Reviewed by Rebecca Kemble