Scarlet Pony: Adventures in the Great Canadian North Country


32 pages
ISBN 0-9681661-0-5
DDC jC813'.6





Illustrations by Stephanie Verheyen
Reviewed by Carol L. MacKay

Carol L. MacKay is a children’s librarian living in Bawlf, Alberta.


Rachael Lewis brings a First Nations “trickster” into her homespun
story of a talking pony sent on a mission to deliver an urgent message
to Inspector Sam Steed of the North West Mounted Police. Along the way
to the Yukon, Scarlet Pony, who is trained to read maps and use a
compass, is sidetracked by Raven Chief, who has injured his wing.
Scarlet Pony decides to return Raven Chief to his home instead of
immediately delivering the message to Inspector Steed.

The weak plot line ambles along like a pony ride at the fair, without
any real tension or climax. The narrator simply dismounts at the
designated end and hints at more “adventures” to come. The author
has taken the easy way out by telling about the characters’ feelings
and inner experiences through narration rather than by showing them
through characterization. This approach fails to engage readers, and the
result is a leaden read. Inconsistent statements in the narration, such
as when Raven Chief is described as “more bruised and shaken than
hurt” when he really is hurt, are distracting, as is the willy-nilly
use of capitals where none are required. The author laces her story with
historical tidbits about the Yukon, the gold rush, and the NWMP, but the
most useful part of the book, for informational purposes, is the
Internet link page for further research.

Stephanie Verheyen’s pen-and-ink illustrations give the book visual
charm and interest, but that’s not enough to make up for the
amateurish text. Not recommended.


Lewis, Rachael., “Scarlet Pony: Adventures in the Great Canadian North Country,” Canadian Book Review Annual Online, accessed July 15, 2024,