Molly the Pony

Grade Level: 
K, 1, 2
Animal Welfare
Civil Society
Disaster: Natural
Non-Fiction Literature
Philanthropic Literature
by Pam Kaster
 A literature guide for parents, teachers, and group leaders to accompany the reading of this picture book. The guide below provides before, during, and after-reading discussion questions. Choose from activities and discussion questions to build children's understanding of generosity, community, and service to others. 

Reading Level: Ages 4-8

Molly is a pony with a great attitude. She was left behind when Hurricane Katrina destroyed her family’s home. Alone in her barn for weeks, Molly survived by eating hay and drinking from puddles. When she moved to a farm for rescued animals, she was attacked by a dog that bit her leg. Molly’s intelligence and attitude made her eligible for a special surgery and a new leg. Then she got a new job that fit her positive attitude. Molly is an inspiration for anyone she meets because she shows gentle love even though her life has been hard.

Before Reading

ASK: What is the difference between a pony and a horse? (A pony is smaller than a horse even when she is an adult. This pony is 18 years old in this picture.)

SHOW: Look at the cover. What can you tell about Molly? Do you think it would be hard for a horse to learn to walk with a prosthetic (artificial) leg?

CONNECT: Have you ever pet a horse or pony? Do you think the pony would be afraid of you? Do you think you might be afraid of her? How do you think you should act around a pony you meet.

During Reading

ASK: How do you think Molly felt when she was alone in her stall during the storm? How do you think she felt when she was rescued and brought to the farm?

SHOW: Look at the bottom of Molly’s prosthetic leg. Do you think a smiley face was the right symbol for her? Why or why not?

CONNECT: A good symbol for Molly’s character and attitude is a smile. What symbol or word would be best to represent you?

After Reading

ASK: Why do you think Molly is the perfect animal to visit children’s hospitals and retirement homes?

SHOW: Find the page in the middle with the line, “Wherever Molly went on the farm, she left a trail of hoof prints and smiley faces.” Then find the last page of the story with the line, “Wherever Molly goes, she leaves a trail of hoof prints and smiling faces.” Talk about how those lines are almost the same, but they had different meanings while reading.

CONNECT: In what ways can we leave a trail of smiling faces.


  1. Visit a local retirement home or children’s hospital. Ask them what your family can do to help brighten the day of the residents.

  2. Visit a horse farm that has a riding program for children with disabilities.

  3. Sing the song in the back of the book. Play along with whatever musical instruments you have (homemade too).

  4. Read more about Hurricane Katrina and the animals that were rescued at Katrina's Animal Rescue on the PBS website.

  5. Or watch YouTube videos of rescuers at Hurricane Katrina Animal Rescue by Terri Keefer. Last viewed on July 10, 2009.
    Hurricane Katrina WARL. Last viewed on July 10, 2009

  6. Write a list of character traits of people who rescue animals. Star the words that you admire. Circle the words that describe you.

  7. Draw and color (or use collage materials) a symbol that represents who you are or what you love or think is important.

  8. Prance like a pony for exercise.