Youth literature focusing on horses can be divided roughly into two categories: the realistic works describe the hobby as actual, possible real-life pastime while the dream-come-true works depict a world where everything goes perfectly and no worries are to be seen anywhere. Lukkarila’s My Gorgeous Panda is a mix of these, but relies more on reality than on a utopia. Lukkarila knows she is playing with stereotypes, which might be the reason why the blurb states that “Jasmiina is living the dream: she gets an inheritance from her great aunt for buying a horse”. Luckily the dream stops here and the harsh reality steps in.
Against all odds, Jasmiina receives a small amount of money from her deceased great-aunt. It is not a huge sum, but enough to buy a horse. She starts to search for a horse with whom she could compete in jumping and comes across the sales ad of Panthera, a very well-known jumping champion who has been recently injured. It makes no sense to buy a horse you cannot use to compete in jumping when that is your explicit goal, but Jasmiina cannot stop thinking about the horse. She needs to weigh her own desires and future goals and decide whether it is wise to buy this horse or not. Is she ready to change her planned jumping career to dressage?
Lukkarila is known for quality books about horses and riding. That is why it is only fair to keep your hopes up and she will be guaranteed not to let you down. Her skills as a storyteller and her long history with horses is brought to the page as quality writing and real knowledge about both the animals and the realities of the hobby. She is guaranteed to depict the good and the bad, the highs and the lows.
Also by Päivi Lukkarila:
Koitetaan kestää, Nanna (Karisto 2007)
Kolmen ajan maa (Karisto 2011)
Venlan alkeiskurssi (Karisto 2011)