Chevalia is an enchanted island where ponies and horses rule, its magic powered by eight golden horseshoes hanging in the royal castle. But the horseshoes have been stolen and must be found before Midsummer Day or the island will lose its magic . . A Magical Friend
On her summer holiday by the sea, pony-mad 8½-year-old Pippa is transported to Chevalia. A beautiful white pony gallops over and introduces herself. This is Princess Stardust, the youngest pony of the royal family; impulsive, impatient . . . and she has always wanted a pet girl of her own. Chevalia needs Pippa’s help, and with Stardust she sets out on a quest to find the golden horseshoes and embarks on the most exciting adventure of all – friendship.
The beginning of a fabulous series of six books filled with spooky Night Mares, unicorns, Princess Ponies, and rip-roaring adventure.
My niece has been reading Princess Pony books so when we had a chance to read one my 5 year old was so excited! I didn’t know much at all about these stories but it turns out that this is the first in a series of six books about the magical horse land of Chevalia. Chevalia is peopled by horses, there are no people there. As you would expect from the title they have a horse royal family too. But things are not all well in Chevalia as the eight magical horse shoes that keep the place in existence have vanished, they need to be found by Midsummer’s Day or the island will disappear. Pippa is brought to Chevalia by two impressive sea horses as she could be the one to find the magical horse shoes and save Chevalia.
Pippa arrives at Chevalia where she is greeted with a mixture of welcome and suspicion by the horses who have never seen a human before. Pippa makes friends with Princess Stardust and realises she has to help locate the missing hose shoes. The two become friends,( I liked the scene where they both recognise that to the other they are usually a pet) and set out to search for the golden shoes.
The book is well written, it has humour, mystery, princesses and, in this first story, a focus on friendship. We enjoyed all these themes and they are all things that appeal to young girls. If you have a horse lover then I am sure she would love them, but even for a non-horse person there is much to revel in. I was slightly apprehensive about whether I would like reading this to my daughter, but it turned out to be better than expected. It is girly, horsey, sparkly stuff, but Chloe Ryder has used interesting words and good prose so that it is not sickly or overly sweet.
It held the attention of my daughter, but it was not asked for every night. She got into it more towards the end. I think she is still a bit too young for it really and there were things that she did not understand. She enjoyed the parts about Pippa’s journey to Chevalia and the search for the horseshoes. As she gets older and understands more about horses (and about stories) she’ll appreciate it more. She does want to know what is going to happen next in the story, but I think she would get more out of it if we waited at least another year to read more, and probably even more if we waited until she was able to read them herself.
Verdict: Overall, an entertaining read for younger girls. I expect we’ll be collecting more in the series at some point.
Reviewed by Helen