Pit Pony

The Picture Book

by Joyce Barkhouse and Janet Barkhouse

illustrated by Sydney Smith

Pit Pony brought to life in picture book format for the younger reader

If Willie could have his dream, he would go to Sable Island and ride free over the sand dunes on the back of a wild horse. Instead, at eleven years old, Willie has to go to work in the coal mines of Cape Breton, hardly ever seeing the light of day. But with the help of Gem, the gentle pit pony he works with in the mine, he discovers that things aren't always as bad as they seem.

Pit Pony is a beloved classic of children's literature, and has been turned into a movie and a television series. For this new illustrated edition, the story has been retold in an abbreviated version for young readers and is vividly illustrated by acclaimed illustrator Sydney Smith.

About the Authors

Joyce Barkhouse
Joyce Barkhouse
Janet Barkhouse
Janet Barkhouse
Although former teacher JOYCE BARKHOUSE wrote stories for many years, she was sixty-one when her first book was published. She went on to win many awards for excellence in writing, including the Order of Nova Scotia and the Order of Canada for her contributions to children's literature. Well known for her historical fiction, she achieved her greatest success with Pit Pony. She died in 2012 at the age of ninety-eight.
JANET BARKHOUSE is Joyces daughter and has retired from several fascinating worlds theatre, academe, education and is now writing herself. No stranger to Sable Island horses, she is the author of Sable Island Imagine! She lives in Clearland, Nova Scotia.
SYDNEY SMITH is an illustrator born and bred in Nova Scotia. He attended the Nova Scotia College of Art and Design and has been in Halifax since receiving his BFA in 2006. Since then, he has collaborated with many musicians and authors, including two children's books with Sheree Fitch. He was awarded the Mayor's Award for Mabel Murple in 2011.


"Through the rich text and equally informative illustrations, Pit Pony: The Picture Book will help younger readers learn about the lives of coal mining families in eastern Canada in the early 1900s."
Diana Mumford, Canadian Teacher
"Pit Pony: The Picture Book captures the essence of the novel perfectly...mirroring a time and place in Nova Scotia's past and capturing a boy's wonder at the majestic spirit of the wild ponies of Sable Island"
Rosalie MacEachern, Atlantic Books Today
"Smith's drawings charmingly capture the heart of the story: joy and tragedy, love and cruelty... an exceptional book" Recommended.
Lian Goodall, Canadian Children's Book News


Canadian Children's Book Centre Best Books for Kids & Teens Selection

Subjects (BISAC)


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