‘Charming and engaging’: Sweetbriars — Tabby’s Big Year, a must-read for a pony-mad child

Twelve-year-old Scarlett Owen reviews the latest book in this series written by Hollie Anne Marsh

The second book in the Sweetbriars series, Tabby’s Big Year is a compelling novel written about a 12-year-old girl called Tabby, her three friends, Cate, Sophia and Violet, and all the ponies involved in her life. This book focuses on Tabby’s life, and her worries and problems, some problems being horse-related, others not at all. The story follows Tabby as she works towards a big competition, and struggles to help the injured horses she loves.

My favourite character is Violet, one of Tabby’s best friends, a crazy, funny 12-year-old whose pony, Spot, is a brilliant showjumper. She is a bright, lively girl with a clever sense of humour and strawberry blonde hair. Most of my favourite parts are when Violet makes me laugh. However, my favourite scene is when Tabby comes to find Nancy, her old riding school pony, at the knacker’s yard. The way Nancy reacts to Tabby’s arrival is one of the sweetest scenes in the book.


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Despite the fact that I sometimes found the speech a little unnatural, the rest of the book was beautifully written, and author Hollie Anne Marsh’s description of the fox family was delightful to read. I also loved her descriptions of ‘Odette’, Cate’s palomino dressage pony.

Although this book is probably more suited to horsey children, most children would like it anyway, as it is an engaging read and is not only focused on horses. I would recommend ages of around 10- 13, but younger and older readers may also enjoy it. This book is charmingly written, a very engaging read, and I would recommend it to almost everyone!

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