cover image Pony Express!

Pony Express!

Steven Kroll, Dan Andreasen. Scholastic, $16.95 (40pp) ISBN 978-0-590-20239-8

For 18 months during the 1860s the Pony Express delivered the mail between Missouri and California, its riders keeping to a grueling schedule, facing Indian attacks and inclement weather. Kroll and Andreasen, previously paired for By the Dawn's Early Light, dramatically capture the pioneer spirit of this forerunner of the modern postal service while providing an enticing glimpse of American history. A brief introduction fills the reader in on events leading up to the formation of the Pony Express, with succinct references to the effects of the Gold Rush and the Civil War. Then Kroll transports readers to the scene of the Pony's first mail delivery; riders are introduced and their experiences recreated in a deadpan, race-against-the-clock presentation of the facts. Oil paintings set within trompe l'oeil wood frames document important scenes and the actions of individual riders, showing their unflagging spirit and determination as they battled to get the mail through on time. Maps and photos at the end of the book are a useful addition. An absorbing and enlightening dose of history and adventure. Ages 7-10. (Mar.)