Chicaro: Wild Pony of the Pampa

by Francis Kalnay
115 pages, General Fiction
Reviewed by Jenny

A beautiful story of a boy, a wild pony, and life on the pampas.


Pedrito, the youngest of the gauchos on the ranch, spies a most unusual wild pony while out in the fields: a pony with a pink coat. The boy is determined to catch and train the unique horse, but when the spoiled son of the ranch owner notices, the fight is on to win the horse. In the end it is the pony Chúcaro himself who will make the choice between masters.


The good characters are good, the bad characters are bad. Not unlike a fairytale, the two are easily distinguishable.

Spiritual Content

God is mentioned. It can be assumed that the characters are Roman Catholic, though this never plays a part in the storyline.


There is very little violence in this story—remarkable considering the nature of a gaucho’s work. One pony does get hit under the eye with a stone, but after inspection is proclaimed to heal quickly with no damage.

Drug and Alcohol Content

Maté, a sort of South American tea, is consumed. One man is a little too fond of his wine.

Sexual Content


Crude or Profane Language or Content

‘Caramba’ is said a few times, as well as the occasional oath by Catholic figures.


While considerably small in size, the author manages to spin an insightful view of life on the pampas into this book. Depicted are the lives of many on the ranch: the gauchos, the owner, the women and children — even the animals. The kindly natures of the main characters make this story sparkle with life and bring out a world and way of life not often seen.

This book has won a Newberry Honor Medal.

Fun Score: 5
Values Score: 5
Written for Age: 8-10

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