Children’s literature

Part II. Forms and genres

 

36. Pony books

 

Alison Haymonds

 

The pony book continues in the long tradition of literature celebrating the love affair between humans and the horse, yet it has always been relegated firmly to the sidelines. Like all popular fiction with mass appeal, the quality of the stories is variable, but there are pony books which merit comparison with any books in the canon of children’s literature.

The genre, which first appeared in the 1920s and 1930s, and then developed and flourished during the post-war boom in riding, is part of a much wider range of horse stories, which can be divided into four categories:

1 The anthropomorphic horse story in which the horse replaces the human hero and tells the story or is the centre of consciousness. The most famous examples are Black Beauty (1877) and Moorland Mousie (1929). This type of story has almost died out, but can still be found in the Australian writer Elyne Mitchell’s Silver Brumby series (from 1958).

2 The wild horse story, mainly American, which owes much to the influence of Western movies and generally features a boy taming a horse. It has many examples, including Will James’s Smoky (1926), My Friend Flicka (1943) and the long-running Black Stallion series (from 1941).

3 The adventure story which includes ponies - Mary Treadgold, Monica Edwards and Monica Dickens are key names in this category.

4 The pony story which is realistic, domestic, and based in Britain; the humans are of equal importance to the horses, and the relationship between girl (or occasionally boy) and pony is the driving force. Joanna Cannan, Primrose Cumming, the Pullein- Thompsons, K. M. Peyton and Patricia Leitch are among the major writers.

This final category is the one commonly perceived to be ‘the pony story’. As a genre, it lacks the universality of school stories or family stories. It ignores the world outside the stable yard, and most of the traditional conventions of story-telling - love and villainy, conflict and mystery. Its readership is as limited as its scope - mainly female, adolescent, and pony mad - for the passion for ponies and pony books seems to be a uniquely female phenomenon. In the formula pony book, the girl is the central character with the pony filling an ambiguous role, which is closer to the traditional heroine both as victim and object of desire. Ponies are not completely personified but they are treated as threedimensional characters and their physical appearance and personality are described in great detail.

Pony stories, like other types of formulaic fiction - school stories, Westerns and romances - have certain narrative conventions. The following sequence of situations can be found in almost all formulaic pony books: a young girl, lacking in confidence and selfesteem, longs for a pony but cannot afford one; she finds a special pony and acquires it by chance or by saving money; she discovers the economic problems of keeping a pony, learns to ride and look after it properly and, in the process, gains confidence and a skill; something threatens the status quo, often lack of money, and it seems the girl may lose the pony; however, in the end, she rides it to success in a show.

The books contain detailed advice on horsemanship and riding and also come complete with a set of situations, values and assumptions: the setting is British and rural - the female hero and her family have often moved to the country from the town; country life is ‘better’ than city life; the heroine’s family is short of money, or has lost money. There is a strong code of behaviour attached to horses and horse riding which mirrors the traditional English code of fair play, sportsmanship and good manners.

Books like A Pony for Jean (Joanna Cannan 1936), Wish for a Pony (Monica Edwards 1947) A Pony of Our Own (Patricia Leitch 1960), Dream of Fair Horses (Leitch 1975), Jackie Won a Pony (Judith M. Berrisford 1958), A Pony in the Family (Berrisford 1959), Jill’s Gymkhana (Ruby Ferguson 1949), Fly-by-Night (K. M. Peyton 1968) and For Love of a Horse (Leitch 1976), though written over a period of forty years and quite different in tone and quality, are all formula stories. There is also a vast amount of literature which, though not adhering to that rigid formula, can still be classified as pony books: books which describe children running or helping at riding stables, pony trekking, rescuing ponies, and taking part in other pony-centred adventures. Very often a series of books about a particular girl rider starts with the formula novel then progresses to less pony- centred stories, such as Monica Edwards’s Romney Marsh and Punchbowl books.

The growth of this new phenomenon was noted by Geoffrey Trease in his groundbreaking book on contemporary juvenile fiction, Tales out of School (1949). He wrote later that ‘the spate of pony books for hippomaniac schoolgirls was then at its height. In those days you could have sold Richard III if you had given it the right wrapper and called it A Pony for Richard’ (Trease 1974: 155). He could not have guessed how long ‘hippomania’ would last despite the unanimous criticism of the genre as narrow, middle class and unchanging: Elaine Moss observed that ‘Horse and pony books ... tend to be thought of by trendy journalists as middle-class, static, irrelevant to today’s social pattern’ (Moss 1976: 30). Marcus Crouch complained: ‘Pony stories were from the beginning middle- class. Young riders owned their ponies by unchallenged right; there was no vulgar show of money, and Pony Club subscriptions were paid by some unseen and disembodied daddy’ (Crouch 1972: 152).

Yet the pony story succeeds in what it sets out to do and remains popular because it stays within the small, highly specialised society of horse lovers. Although the world of horses is perceived as upper class and privileged, the families in these stories are not always middle class - less so in recent books - and seldom well off (which is why the children long hopelessly for ponies). Pony books are obsessed with the costs, care, riding and love of horses - and these concerns are as relevant in the twenty-first century as they were in the 1940s.

Pony stories owe a good deal to traditional fairy tales with their stories of the transformation of gauche girls and neglected ponies and the recurring pattern of motifs and conventional events. They also bear a resemblance to the novel of ‘education’, the Bildungsroman, for the female hero gains confidence and a purpose in life by acquiring a pony. Perhaps they are even closer to the formula love story - girl meets pony, girl loses pony, girl gets pony - for these stories are about intense emotional relationships in which the object of affection happens to be a pony. They are also books of instruction for they are crammed with closely detailed information about equitation.

This didactic streak has descended directly from the forerunners of the genre. Although Black Beauty is generally regarded as the first in the field, there were many moral books told from the animals’ point of view written earlier in the nineteenth century. One of the first was Memoirs of Dick, the little poney: supposed to be written by himself; and published for the instruction and amusement of little masters and mistresses, published in 1799. Dick’s story - he is stolen by gypsies and passed between cruel and kind owners until he ends his days in a ‘fertile field’ - was the pattern for many autobiographical pony stories, which remained popular for a century and a half.

The greatest of these, Anna Sewell’s Black Beauty, was intended for simple working folk who had daily contact with horses ‘to induce kindness, sympathy, and an understanding treatment of horses’ (Chitty 1971: 187), but from the first was read enthusiastically by children. Exciting, dramatic, with its strong style, and memorable characters, the ‘autobiographical’ Black Beauty set a standard which future pony books found hard to match, but its values and attitudes to animals still influence the genre. Thousands of children have wept over the death of Ginger and learned about compassion to animals through this story.

For the next fifty years, pony stories tended to be labelled as nature-study books, like Skewbald the New Forest Pony (1923), one of the publisher Black’s animal stories series told from the animal’s point of view, sober books which concentrated on accurate country lore rather than exciting plots. (Skewbald was written by Allen W. Seaby (1867-1953), Professor of Fine Art at Reading University (1920-33), and was the first of his stories about British native ponies.)

The wider category of horse stories has never been exclusive to Britain but has reflected the character of the country of origin. For instance, horses were a natural part of life in the famous Billabong books by Australian writer Mary Grant Bruce. Starting with A Little Bush Maid (1910) and finishing with Billabong Riders (1942), the fifteen titles are set on an idealised station north of Victoria and Norah Linton, the Bush Maid, who grows to womanhood through the series, is a fine rider like her father.

In America, one of the most influential horse books, published in 1926, was also about a native horse - this was Smoky, a horse of the Wild West. Will James’s classic Newbery winner tells the story of the mouse-coloured cow horse and his relationship with Clint the cowboy. Like Black Beauty, it follows the vicissitudes of the horse’s life until he is rescued by Clint from the rodeo and finishes his days in peace on the home range. It also supplies detailed information about breaking-in cow horses. Like Sewell, Will James judges men by their treatment of horses.

 

I’ve never yet went wrong in sizing up a man by the kind of a horse he rode. A good horse always packs a good man, and I’ve always dodged the hombre what had no thought nor liking for his horse or other animals.

(James 1941: 7)

 

Written in the rough-and-ready prose of the Western, it is told from both the horse’s and the human’s point of view, and Smoky always remains a horse without human characteristics. Its influence was felt for many years in American horse stories.

There was a growing interest in native breeds in Britain but, because these are ponies rather than horses, they are more closely linked with the young children who rode them. One of the great pony classics, Moorland Mousie, is the story of an Exmoor pony, autobiographical, full of tips on horsemanship and horse management and memorably illustrated by the great horse artist Lionel Edwards. It was a direct imitation of Black Beauty, but was written specifically for children by ‘Golden Gorse’, the pseudonym of Muriel Wace.

Perhaps it was no coincidence that Moorland Mousie was published in the same year that the Pony Club was established, with the express aim of ‘interesting young people in riding and sport and at the same time offering the opportunity of higher instruction in this direction than many of them can obtain individually’ (The Pony Club Year Book 1994: 68). This started a trend for stories of instruction thinly disguised as fiction, with young riders being taught the finer points of horsemanship, such as Golden Gorse’s Janet and Felicity, the Young Horse-Breakers (1937), and Riders of Tomorrow (1935) by Captain J. E. Hance.

It was adolescent girls who were most receptive to this new obsession for horses and the emergence of the girl rider changed the character of the pony book. The focus of attention shifted from the pony to the pony owners and early books, like The Ponies of Bunts and the Adventures of the Children Who Rode Them (1933), illustrated with black- and-white photographs, reflected the new trend. One of the most influential books was a classic story originally intended for adults by its author Enid Bagnold. Despite this, National Velvet (1935) has always been read by children, particularly after the enormous success of the film version in 1944. The plot has all the motifs which became familiar in countless pony books: the pony-mad girl who cannot afford a pony wins an unmanageable horse in a raffle, trains it and eventually wins the Grand National. Although it has been criticised for its caricature of a working-class family, National Velvet was among the first books to put into words that passionate yearning for horses by adolescent girls which characterises the genre:

 

‘I tell myself stories about horses,’ [Velvet] went on, desperately fishing at her shy desires. ‘Then I can dream about them. Now I dream about them every night. I want to be a famous rider, I should like to carry despatches, I should like to get a first at Olympia, I should like to ride in a great race, I should like to have so many horses that I could walk down between the two rows of loose boxes and ride what I chose.’

(Bagnold 1935: 71)

 

Another pony-mad girl echoed these sentiments more prosaically in a book published in the following year. Joanna Cannan’s A Pony for Jean (1936), now regarded as the pioneer of the new type of pony novel, was written specifically for children, and owed much to E. Nesbit in tone and humour. Like National Velvet, it concentrated on the pony-owner rather than the pony, telling the story of Jean Leslie, ‘nearly 12’, who moves to the country when her father loses his money, and is given a neglected pony, ‘The Toastrack’. She learns to ride by trial and error, nurtures the pony (romantically renamed Cavalier), and wins the jumping class at the local gymkhana. It is the prototype for hundreds of pony books and is still one of the best of the genre. It had the benefit of an experienced author, Joanna Cannan, who passed on her love of horses and her writing talent to her three daughters and started a pony-book dynasty. Josephine Pullein-Thompson and her twin sisters Diana and Christine began writing books in their teens and have continued for almost half a century, selling 11 million books all over the world. The name Pullein-Thompson has become synonymous with pony stories and this family, above all other writers in the genre, can be credited with popularising the pony book.

The early Pullein-Thompson books had an innocent ebullience and lively style missing in the later ones. They bear the influence of Victorian children’s writers, showing their human characters receiving a moral education from animals. This was the theme of Josephine Pullein-Thompson’s first and best stories, Six Ponies (1946), I Had Two Ponies (1947) and Plenty of Ponies (1949). Josephine ran a riding school with her sisters, and her zeal to instruct is clear, but her books are still readable and full of lively and believable children. In later years she concentrated on adventure stories and a Pony Club series but returned to more straightforward stories of horsemanship, like The Prize Pony (1982).

Diana and Christine have not confined themselves to pony stories. Diana, who has written adult fiction and non-fiction, has found it hard to match her early books, such as I Wanted a Pony (1946), A Pony for Sale (1951) and Janet Must Ride (1951), although one of her last pony stories, Cassidy in Danger (1979), is a satisfying return to form. Christine, who is the most prolific of the three, has endeavoured, more than most, to keep her books abreast of the times, notably in the series featuring the self-made show-jumper David Smith. Her hunting trilogy starting with We Hunted Hounds (1949) is also noteworthy, but has suffered, like other books with a hunting theme, from the sharp decline in public support for the sport.

With such a huge output, the sisters’ standard is variable, but their love and knowledge of horses is undeniable. They have joined forces since their first book written together, It Began with Picotee (1946), to write a series of sequels to Black Beauty.

Another pioneer of the pony book was Primrose Cumming whose first book Doney (1934) was published when she was still in her teens. Her fantasy, Silver Snaffles (1937), in which the heroine, Jenny, passes Alice-like through the wall of the stable into a Utopian world of talking horses who teach her horsemanship, successfully bridged the gap between the talking-horse story and the new type of pony book. Primrose Cumming experimented with the genre, and her best books have a strong sense of the English countryside. The Wednesday Pony (1939), based on real characters, tells the story of a butcher’s children and Jingo, the high-stepping harness pony, who turns out to be the horse of their dreams. The Silver Eagle Riding School (1938), and its sequels, in which the three Chantry sisters discover the problems and pleasures of running their own stables, was one of the first of many ‘working’ pony stories which proliferated in the 1950s with the arrival of careers books for girls.

The flood of pony stories was temporarily stemmed by the Second World War. Mary Treadgold’s Carnegie Medal winner, We Couldn’t Leave Dinah (1941), an adventure story rather than a pony book, was one of the very few books to acknowledge the war, with its exciting story of children trapped on an occupied Channel Island. In the same year, in America, two horse books were published which heralded two of the most popular series in the genre: Walter Farley’s Black Stallion novels and Mary O’Hara’s Flicka trilogy.

Farley, influenced by Black Beauty and Smoky, started writing as a teenager. His first novel, The Black Stallion (1941), was published when he was twenty-one, and he continued writing horse stories until his death in 1989. A. B. Emrys has described ‘the Farley formula’, which combines elements of boys’ adventure stories, Westerns, the supernatural, realistic animal tales, and self-help stories (Emrys 1993: 187). Alex, the young hero, develops as a skilled rider through hard work, courage and his passionate attachment to the wild black stallion and its progeny. Farley’s growing knowledge of horses meant the books, with their racing background, were full of practical information. His desire to pass on his enthusiasm directly to his young readers, without didacticism, was as responsible for their lasting popularity as their exciting but formulaic plots.

Mary O’Hara’s fame rests on her much-loved trilogy, My Friend Flicka (1941), Thunderhead (1943) and Green Grass of Wyoming (1946). Using her own experience of life on a Wyoming ranch, she follows the development of Ken McLaughlin from the ages of ten to seventeen, as he tries to tame the strong-willed mare Flicka and her son Thunderhead. Again influenced by the Wild West, the books are sensitively, often lyrically written. The intensity of Ken’s feelings for his horses and the realistic family relationships lift these books into a different category from the formulaic fiction.

Another American writer of this period, Marguerite Henry, dubbed ‘the Queen of the children’s horse story’, was that rarity in the genre, a writer loved by children and critics. Her books are carefully researched, non-formulaic, historical stories which skilfully blend fact and fiction, like Justin Morgan Had a Horse (1945), about the origins of the Morgan breed. Misty of Chincoteague (1947), about the wild ponies of Virginia, and its sequels, were her biggest sellers and can be mentioned in the same breath as Black Beauty and National Velvet. King of the Wind (1948), her story of the Godolphin Arabian, won the Newbery Medal.

In Britain after the war there was an avalanche of pony books to meet the growing demand fuelled by the resurgence of popularity in riding. This interest was encouraged by the flourishing Pony Club and whetted by the new phenomenon, television. In 1947, the BBC televised the Royal International Horse Show at White City for the first time and soon Lieutenant-Colonel Harry Llewellyn, Pat Smythe and their famous horses, Foxhunter, Prince Hal and Tosca, became household names. Any book with ‘pony’ in the title would find thousands of eager readers and, in the 1950s, a large number of mediocre pony stories were trotted out, like the Crown Pony series published by Lutterworth Press.

Anthropomorphic stories had lost their popularity in Britain but were kept alive by the Australian writer Elyne Mitchell, whose Silver Brumby books were read worldwide. The books, starting with The Silver Brumby (1958), were inspired by the wild horse of the Australian Alps, where Mitchell lived on a cattle station. With their strong sense of place, mystical overtones and high-flown style, they are something of an acquired taste, but have their passionate advocates. The equine dialogue disappears in the later books and humans play more of a part. Another Australian, Mary Elwyn Patchett, also wrote about Brumbies, starting with The Brumby (1958), but did not confine herself to horses.

In Britain, the most lastingly popular books were the Jill series, by a successful adult novelist, Ruby Ferguson, starting with Jill’s Gymkhana (1949), and concluding with Jill’s Pony Trek (1962). They were constantly in print for half a century although regarded with some disdain by more knowledgeable readers. The nine books, narrated by Jill, about her ponies and her pals, have the jolly, middle-class tone more typical of school stories and lack any didactic streak. They appealed to a wider range of young readers because they have an endearingly simple humour and tell lively stories, following Jill’s career from schoolgirl to seventeen-year-old training for a ‘proper’ job. Jill’s successes are relatively modest, she is not well off, and she keeps the same ponies throughout the series, so she is someone to whom her readers can relate.

At this time, these pony books were unique to Britain but reflected a universal love for horses, so the best-known writers in the genre, like Ferguson, sold worldwide and were particularly popular in Scandinavia. Josephine Pullein-Thompson said that ‘every child in Finland must have bought every copy of our books’ (in conversation with Haymonds, 6 June 1993). In Sweden, two best-selling series that followed the British formula, were the fourteen Britta and Silver books by Lisbeth Pahnke, and the Annika books by Anna Lisa Almqvist. Horses also figured in the popular Puk series from Denmark, written by Lisbeth Werner, the synonym of two men, Carlo Andersen and Knud Meister, who was well known for writing and translating horse books.

Many writers tried their hand at pony books, lured, perhaps, by the deceptive simplicity of the genre. Some were famous riders like Pat Smythe, or equestrian experts like Pamela Macgregor-Morris; others were writers of adult books, like Catherine Cookson, Rumer Godden and Monica Dickens (with her popular Follyfoot series); who produced fine children’s books in which horses feature. Kitty Barne, better known for more serious children’s fiction, wrote a classic pony book, Rosina Copper (1954), based on the true story of an Argentine polo pony. M. E. (Mary Evelyn) Atkinson, author of the popular Lockett family holiday adventure books, and Lorna Hill, who wrote the Sadler’s Wells series, both produced indifferent pony stories.

Many young riders felt a compulsion to write as well as ride and joined the growing ranks of pony book authors. This large number of young writers is unique to the genre and seems to be part of the pony-mad phase. Primrose Cumming and the Pullein- Thompsons were not the only early starters. Among the youngest published writers were Moyra Charlton, who was eleven when she wrote Tally Ho, the Story of an Irish Hunter (1930), and Daphne Winstone, who wrote Flame (1945) when she was twelve: others included Mary Colville (thirteen), who wrote and illustrated Plain Jane (1945), April Jaffe (fourteen), who wrote Satin and Silk (1948), and the fifteen-year-olds Lindsay Campbell (Horse of Air (1957)) and Bernagh Brims (Runaway Riders (1963)). In 1936, fifteen-year-old Shirley Faulkner-Horne wrote a book of instruction, Riding for Children, and schoolgirls Katharine Hull and Pamela Whitlock, fifteen and sixteen respectively, sent the manuscript of a book they were writing together to Arthur Ransome. With his encouragement, The Far-Distant Oxus was published the following year (1937). A sub-Swallows and Amazons with ponies, this book and its two sequels were the forerunner of the adventure plus pony stories in which the ponies were incidental.

Arguably the finest writer in the genre, K. M. (Kathleen) Peyton started writing at the age of nine and her first story was published when she was fifteen. Sabre, the Horse from the Sea (1948), written under her maiden name Kathleen Herald, was followed by The Mandrake (1949) and Crab the Roan (1953). Although she went on to greater things, including a Carnegie Medal, and other kinds of books, she never lost her all-consuming interest and continues to write pony stories. Even her admired Flambards novels (from 1978), though by no stretch of the imagination pony books, are permeated with her love of horses. Her best pony book, Fly-by-Night, was written in 1968 when the popularity of the genre was losing its impetus. If Fly-by-Night marked the end of the golden age of pony books, it also demonstrated how it was possible to transform the old formula without flouting the conventions. The plot is almost identical to A Pony for Jean - but heroine Ruth Hollis’s family is not wealthy and middle class; they live on a housing estate and they are plagued by money worries. In this and other books by Kathleen Peyton, like Darkling (1989), the responsibilities as well as the pleasures of owning horses are stressed, and in Poor Badger (1990), a classic ‘pony rescue’ story, the ethics of taking someone else’s pony, however badly treated, are seriously discussed.

Another writer who started young was Helen Griffiths, whose first books were published in her teens. Like Peyton, she can hardly be classed as a pony writer; as a children’s novelist, she has written about animals, principally horses, and their relationship with children, many with a Spanish setting. One of her best, The Wild Horse of Santander (1966), was a runner-up for the Carnegie Medal. The wild filly, which cannot be broken in, has a special bond with the blind boy Joaquin. Through her he learns to accept his blindness but, while he is away regaining his sight, the mare runs wild again and has to be shot.

Another exponent of the more realistic pony stories of the 1960s was Vian Smith; one of the few male writers of pony stories, he was as knowledgeable about human behaviour as he was about animals. He, too, used the disability of a child to reveal the healing power of contact with animals in Martin Rides the Moor (1964), about a deaf boy who learns to ride. Come down the Mountain (1967), the story of a girl’s determination to save a neglected racehorse and the effect it has on her family and the community, is an exceptional book by any standards.

The downward trend in pony stories continued in the 1970s, enlivened only by the first of the twelve Jinny books by Patricia Leitch. Her earlier books had followed in the tradition of the Pullein-Thompsons, although Janet - Young Rider (1963), with its working-class family, reflected far more accurately the preoccupations of its period. Dream of Fair Horses (1975), heavily influenced by National Velvet, is still a remarkable work of imagination with serious things to say about the dangers of trying to possess living beings. But Leitch set her own seal on the genre with the series about Jinny and her Arab horse Shantih (starting with For Love of a Horse in 1976). Still deservedly popular, these books, set in the Scottish Highlands, follow the growth and development of Jinny through a continuous series of adventures linked together by the mysterious Red Horse, which represents the life-force.

In the 1980s and 1990s, there was a resurgence of interest in pony books but a shortage of new writers like Caroline Akrill with her lively trilogy - Eventer’s Dream (1981), A Hoof in the Door (1982), Ticket to Ride (1983) - about aspiring eventer Elaine and the eccentric Fane family. Established writers, like the Pullein-Thompsons, were in demand again, but a brave attempt in the 1990s by publishers J. A. Allen, of London, to launch a paperback series, Allen Equestrian Fiction, did not succeed. In America, there were also fewer horse books, but some good writers like Jean Slaughter Doty, Lynn Hall and Glen Rounds who kept the genre alive.

The trend in recent years, particularly in America, has been towards series books. One of the longest-lasting is The American Saddle Club, started in 1986 by the tireless Bonnie Bryant. They appear once a month and have little to commend them except ubiquity. Bryant also produces a Pine Hollow series and the Pony Tales series for younger readers. The long-running Thoroughbred series was created in 1991 by Joanna Campbell, starting with A Horse Called Wonder. These books with their racing background were better written and more knowledgeable than the norm and used that well-tried plot device, the special relationship between girl and horse. However, after fourteen titles in five years, Campbell gave up the gruelling task and the series was taken on by numerous other writers with a considerable diminution in quality.

These books are ‘teen’ reads but the series that proliferated in Britain in the 1990s tended to be aimed at younger readers, including the Pony Club series by Diane Redmond, Kestrels by Patricia Leitch, and Hollywell Stables by Samantha Alexander. Even K. M. Peyton is following the vogue with her superior Swallow Tales series.

However, there will always be fine children’s books about horses, like the New Zealand author Joy Cowley’s award-winning Shadrach trilogy. In the first book, Bow Down Shadrach (New Zealand Children’s Book of the Year 1991), Hannah and her brothers try to rescue old Shadrach from the dogfood factory. The sequels, Glady Here I Come, and Shadrach Girl (New Zealand Post Junior Fiction Award 2001), concern Shadrach’s daughter. With books of this quality, in which the relationship between owner and horse affects both child and animal, the genre will survive.

 

References

Bagnold, E. (1935) National Velvet, London: Heinemann.

Chitty, S. (1971) The Woman Who Wrote Black Beauty: A Life of Anna Sewell, London: Hodder and Stoughton.

Crouch, M. (1972) The Nesbit Tradition, the Children’s Novel in England 1945-1970, London: Benn.

Emrys, A. B. (1993) ‘Regeneration through Pleasure: Walter Farley’s American Fantasy’, Journal of Popular Culture 26, 4: 187-94.

James, W. (1926/1941) Smoky, the Story of a Horse, London: Penguin.

Moss, E. (1976) ‘On the Tail of the Seductive Horse’, Signal 19: 27-30.

The Pony Club Year Book (1994) London: The British Horse Society.

Trease, G. (1949) Tales out of School, London: Heinemann Educational.

- (1974) Laughter at the Door, London: Macmillan.

 

Further reading

Lindstam, B. (1982) ‘The Horse Story as Love Story’, Barn och Kultur 28, 1: 16-20.

Poll, B. (1961) ‘Why Children Like Horse Stories’, Elementary English 7, 38: 473-4.

Strickland, C. (1986) ‘Equine Fiction in the 1980s’, School Library Journal 32, 10: 36-7.

Treadgold, M. (1982) ‘For the Love of Horses’, Books for Your Children 17, 1: 16-17.