Reading/Interest Level: Preschool, Primary
Illustrator: Feronia Parker Thomas
Publisher: Child's Play
After Polonius, a pit pony, flees the coal mine where he works, he joins a Traveling family. He wishes to show his gratitude to Lucretia and her welcoming family, especially since he is not very useful to them. One foggy morning, the family needs to get a shipment of goods down to the docks. They cannot drive in such dense fog, and their usual horses are too afraid to pull it. Since Polonius had worked in the dark coal mines, he is not afraid to find his way in the fog. Polonius saves the day as he guides the shipment to the docks before the ship leaves.
This is a sweet story highlighting the history of coal mining and culture of Travelers many years ago. O’Neill draws on his traditional storytelling background to share this story based on true events. There are historical facts and a small glossary for cultural terms located at the front and back of the book. The colorful and detailed pictures facilitate the readers’ visualization of the events and time period. The courageous and friendly Polonius is lovable and relatable. The family children always love him, but he wants demonstrate his worth to the other working animals and family members. Polonius proves that everyone has talents to share in their own time.