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Children's Fiction Horses

Slowpoke the Bell Island Mine Horse

by (author) Heather Smith

illustrated by Genevieve Simms

Nimbus Publishing
Initial publish date
Oct 2021
Horses, Death & Dying, Post-Confederation (1867-), Friendship
Recommended Age
4 to 8
Recommended Grade
p to 3
  • Paperback / softback

    Publish Date
    Oct 2021
    List Price
  • eBook

    Publish Date
    Nov 2021
    List Price

Classroom Resources

Where to buy it


A heartwarming picture book about an iron ore – mine horse and a timid young miner in Bell Island, Newfoundland, from award-winning author of Mr. Hirota's Garden and The Agony of Bun O'Keefe

Out in Conception Bay, on the northern Avalon Peninsula of Newfoundland and Labrador, sits tiny Bell Island, a tight-knit community where iron ore has been mined for centuries. Slowpoke The Bell Island Mine Horse tells the story of eleven-year-old Jimmy, who enters the mine in place of his father, who died in a tragic accident years earlier. To help support his family, Jimmy must overcome his fear of the underground space, the unrelenting darkness, the rumble of tramcars, and the clang-clang-clang of pickaxes. He's not sure he's cut out for a miner's life until one day, his lamplight illuminates a beautiful horse named Slowpoke, with ears soft as velvet. The two soon find they have more in common than they could have dreamed, and when tragedy rears its head again, it's up to Slowpoke and Jimmy to save the day.
From the award-winning author of The Agony of Bun O'Keefe, Slowpoke the Bell Island Mine Horse is a heartwarming tale of friendship and family, and offers the gritty story of the mining life — for both humans and horses — in nineteenth-century Newfoundland and Labrador.

About the authors

Heather Smith's profile page

Sarah Sawler  is the author of 100 Things You Don't Know About Nova Scotia. She writes a monthly column for Atlantic Books Today called “Origin Stories,” and her freelance work appears regularly in Halifax Magazine and Atlantic Business Magazine. She lives in Halifax with her partner, two children, one dog, one cat, and one bearded dragon.

Genevieve Simms' profile page

Editorial Reviews

Slowpoke: The Bell Island Mine Horse, a book that touches on love and loss, will resonate with anyone who is an animal lover or frequents the province of Newfoundland and Labrador.

Other titles by Heather Smith

Other titles by Genevieve Simms