Full of heart and humor, this coming-of-age tale is no small thing — the tale of a boy’s search for love and identity in the face of longing, abandonment, and uncertainty.When twelve-year-old Nathaniel and his two sisters discover an ad in the paper for a free pony, they can hardly believe their luck. But what will their mother say? Mom’s been having a hard time ever since Dad walked out on them four years ago. But caring for a pony might keep Nat and his older sister, Cid, from bickering, and it would mean so much to eight-year-old Queenie. It takes some serious persuasion — and a promise to use Nat’s paper route money for the pony’s keep — but Mom finally relents.And so begins a year of self-discovery, as Nat struggles to deal with his father’s absence; look out for his younger sister, who is “different”; and recover from having his heart broken by a rich, pretty girl from school. Life is not always easy, but Nat knows that Smokey, his very own pony, will be waiting for him at the end of each day. Or will he?