Ashley Salvatore Letter Essay #3: No Small Thing

Recently, I finished reading No Small Thing, a 245-page, realistic fiction book, by Natale Ghent. She is an author and illustrator, but before her career, she lived in Illinois, in an old stone farmhouse with her horses, chickens, dogs, and many other animals, but moved to the canadian countryside continuing to write books. I noticed that the book relates to her in a way, as the setting is in the countryside. This coming-of-age tale has won many awards such as the Silver Birch Award (Honour Book). No Small  Thing was published on March 3, 2003, and was the second book she ever published. I read this book because it was a recommendation from a friend. Also, I decide most books to read through the back cover summary, which sounded full of adventures and compelling questions to be answered by the main character.


In the book, No Small Thing, life hasn’t been easy for Nathaniel and his two sisters, Cid and Queenie ever since their father left them. Now living in a small house, on tight money, with their single mother, they all want life to be happy the way it always used to be. Soon enough, Nat reads about a free pony in the newspaper. Although they are uncertain of what their mother will say. Surprisingly, she agrees to let them keep it. And, so the day begins for them to take back their new pony, and start over for a happy life. They realize that life with Smokey is making everyone feel happy again, the way it used to be. The kids ride him, take care of him, and have memorable times together. WHat more could they ask for? But when a disaster ocours at the barn, it leaves them unknowing of what to do. Will Smokey be OK? Things after this become even harder when they may be forced to sell their house, and the pony. How will life ever continue with joy again?


I liked the way the author used a good memory moment in the book when Nat, Cid, and Queenie were all having flashbacks of memories from their old home on Forest Road with their dad who left them (pgs. 38-41). The reason I included this was the importance it held on both the reader, for knowing the character’s past, and the character himself. It was helpful for me, as a reader to know this information because then I’ll have a better understanding of why the characters act or say certain things, and how they started. Now that I know this information, I know, for example, why they are struggling with money, living in a small house, or when Nat’s mom wasn’t able to pay the electric bill on time.


I noticed how the author used a very repetitive quote throughout the entire story. In the book, a dog starts attacking Smokey when Queenie was riding him, but she got thrown off. Nat tried to comfort her and tried to assure himself by thinking, “If I can convince her to get back on Smokey, maybe everything will be OK (pg. 31).” This was a signpost of Again and Again, that I thought held importance in the book. In my opinion, this quote symbolizes that there are problems in life that you just have to assure yourself on, that nobody else can. As I kept reading, I noticed also that it always helped keep Nat calm in difficult situations.  


The main character, Nat surprised me when he bought a new glass fawn figure for Cid. When Nat was fighting with Cid, he wanted revenge for something that she did. Nat put Cid’s collection in one of his clothing drawers, but somehow they all broke. This was a special collection to Cid, especially because her dad gave her every figure. But, Nat said that he really wanted to make it up to her, by getting her new ones with his own money for Christmas. This showed the character development, as in the beginning, Nat says how him and Cid don’t always get along, but over time, his feelings changed for her, and hers to.


I was interested  in this passage: “I feel scared and unsure of what to do next, but decide that no matter what happens, I’m glad I ran away. A pony like Smokey is worth fighting for – even if we did get him for free. A pony like Smokey is no small thing (pg. 238).” Mainly, this passage shows the main purpose of the title, No Small Thing. It also answered lots of questions for the reader such as, what made Smokey so different from the other horses in the book? I would read this book again because it was very heart-warming, and had a great plot. No Small Thing, would get a 9 out of 10.



Ashley Salvatore

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3 thoughts on “Ashley Salvatore Letter Essay #3: No Small Thing

  1. I liked your letter essay, it was very well written and interesting. I especially liked how you talked about how you talked about the again and again signpost with Queenie and Nat. This is a good paragraph because you can elaborate on what we have been doing in class. I would add more analysis in latter versions though, but this is a great example of your thinking on this book.

  2. Dear Ashley,

    I can tell you really enjoyed reading this novel. Based on the summary you wrote and entailed, the plot seemed like a good and action-packed one. Some of the things I admired in your Letter Essay, were the constant references to the multiple sign posts we have learned and reviewed in class. When I reached the passage you chose, the author’s craft and wording stuck out at me. Did the simple and short sentences impact your decision for choosing this specific paragraph as well as the bit on why the book is titled ‘No Small Thing’?
    I realize it is hard to constantly check for typos, but make sure to do so and remember to also check punctuation!
    Nice job,
    From your friend,


  3. Dear Ashely,
    I loved your letter essay!! It was very well written, and it shows a lot of your thought. Good job! Recently, I also read this book, and I agree with everything that you said. While reading this book, another thing that I noticed that appeared a lot( Again and Again) was Nat saying how special the horse was. ” And then I see the pony. He’s standing in the paddock, sniffing the air. He is a pure white stallion with a black muzzle. His mane and tail are long and flowing… And he is the most beautiful thing I have ever seen(pg. 19).” This must have been one of the first of 4-5 more comments about how beautiful the horse is. I thought that the author keeps telling us this because it says( on the back of the book) there is a fire in the barn at some point. When I was reading this, I was worried it may have really harmed Stormy, possibly physically and mentally. Anyway, you did such a good job. You can tell that you really enjoyed reading this book.

    Great job, Amber

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