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Reviewed by Hilary Hawkes for Readers' Favorite
Pony Express is a Christian themed comic-style novel by author/artist Arielle Namenyi. Dodge is a mustang on the Pony Express line when his young rider, Trey, becomes injured. Dodge regards Trey as his brother and goes, as instructed, on his mission to get help. He comes across the vain and arrogant Akmal, the Arabian stallion who trusts no one and certainly not humans, and Rocky who has almost given up on life. Dodge enlists them both on his mission and promises Akmal a safe place to live if he will help. The three unlikely friends encounter all sorts of thrilling adventures and dangers, and at the same time learn about themselves, friendship and loyalty.
Namenyi has a combined gift for story-telling and art. She has produced a marvelous story here and its presentation as a comic story is appealing to young readers. The plot is very well thought out with plenty of tension, wonderful humor and action. I like the way the Biblical message of not seeking vengeance, handling those who wrong you, forgiveness, and being there for others weaves naturally and unobtrusively into the story. This is not easy to do without making it a ‘preachy’ book, but the author has achieved it brilliantly here - making the story an entertaining read with a powerful message for all children.
The illustrations in Pony Express are wonderful and depict the characters and the plot perfectly as it unfolds. I love the horses’ different personalities, and the way their adventure enables them all to grow and learn about themselves and each other. Perfect for the Christian market, but a fun and entertaining book for all children.