This is a wonderful book by Dori Chaconas about a boy whose father is fighting in WWII. He's shy and wary of horses... the ragman's horse (Josephine), the milkman's nag (Nell), and the garbage wagon horses (Billy and Bucky). The horses' big teeth, wild eyes, and feet as big and heavy as buckets full of iron all make him a bit apprehensive. But before his dad left, he told his son to be brave. And, he misses his dad and wants to make him proud.
The boy saves his pennies in a green glass jar for the perfect birthday present for his father. He ends up getting his picture taken on a pony named "Freedom" with the money he's saved. He finds the courage it takes to do something special for his father and overcomes his fear of horses.
Ted Lewin's paintings are, as always, captivating and amazing. The historical aspects of this story make it a wonderful read... and they capture the spirit of the 1940s and WWII perfectly. It's a perfect book to share with students when studying endurance and stamina.