Saturday, 25 August 2007

Review: DIANA - A Pony For Sale

I must admit that there was no logic to choosing this book. This week I have been contending with some stupid, no rather incompetent, people who have been installing a new central heating system. Despite being told that it would take 3 days (Thursday was the day it was due to be finished), I am still sitting here with unfinished work. Thankfully I did not pay for the work (nor the system) otherwise I would be asking for some of my money back. Not to mention the toilet seat being broken in the process and my indoors only cat being let out numerous times. Anyway the consequence of all this work meant that I had to put all the books away (during which a hard back book fell on my head from the top shelf. It hurt - I blame the horses in the book!) and so I grabbed any Diana book so I could write a review.

The blurb reads (taken from the one with the photographic cover):-

"Steady, steady," I whispered, but Martini book into a canter. And then a terrible thing happened; a dog ran out of some bushes, sending Martini into a frenzy of fear. She plunged forward, snatching wildly at the reins and throwing me onto her neck. I grabbed the mane as she broke into a gallop. "Please stop. Please, Martini. Whoa, whoa, steady," I pleaded.

But it was no use. I was being run away with, and there was absolutely nothing I could do....

The photographic edition is not illustrated. However the first edition (illustrated cover) is illustrated by Sheila Rose.

A Pony for Sale is one that I quite enjoy. It is an interesting tale about a pony and the 4 riders she endures (written from the rider's point of view). Interestingly for the PT's her first rider is a male, something that is not common in many pony books. Like most ponies in life, the riders are good and bad, but it shows you the importance of never selling a pony to someone you have doubts about. There isnt any incidences of starvation, but one owner is rather succumbed to rapping her.

All in all it is an very good book, the issues raised in this one are still relevant today as it was in 1951 (when this book was originally published), and it hasnt lost it's charm. Although thankfully rapping is not as commonplace, but it does raise awareness about how the nicest and best schooled of ponies can fall into the wrong hands.

Also, thanks to everyone who has emailed me about comments re:my blog.

Saturday, 18 August 2007

Review: DIANA - The Boy and The Donkey/The Donkey Race

So it comes to my first review. I thought I would choose Diana first as I have all of Diana's whereas I still (discounting the ones I want to replace with certain editions etc) have both Josephine's and Christine's books on my want list.

The Donkey Race (originally published as "The Boy and The Donkey") is the one I have chosen. My own personal copy and the bit on the back (is there a technical term for it?) is taken from the Armada retitled edition and as follows:-

"Duggie's adventures begin on the day when he meets Old Jock, the rag-and-bone man, and Tammy, his small grey donkey. When Jock becomes ill, Du
ggie finds himself looking after Tammy and driving him through the streets of London.

Then Duggie hears about the Donkey Derby, a race that is held every summer, and his one ambition is to enter the Derby with Tammy - and win"

Both editions are illustrated by Shirley Hughes

As obvious from the title, it isnt an pony book and this should be an slightly OT post, as it is about a donkey. But we'll ignore that for now. Personally speaking, this is one of my favourites, though I suspect that it didnt sell well as Diana's pony books. Perhaps why in 1970 when Armada took it on (this is when my copy dates from) they decided to "jazz" it up a little by rearranging the title. The book dates from 1958, and I feel it is a near true portrait of life in those times. There isnt a specific area given in the book, but I feel it must have been a poor one, bordering on the affluent areas (Kensington High Street is named quite early on, and the Rotten Row in Hyde Park gets a mention later on). Duggie's mum doesn't seem to have much money, let alone time for her children, as Duggie is forever being made to get to the shops, and his dad is always on the railways. It is a hard book to get hold into if you are 11 years old, I suppose, and rather boring, if you cant get around to that mind set long before there was danger lurking around the corner, worries about children being left alone (though there are complaints when Duggie and Pete - Pete being his friend - take on the round when Old Jock becomes ill) and people werent bothered about paedophiles and it was safe to leave your door unlocked. The only real danger to Duggie is the Smithfield gang (a sort of young Kray Brothers), who at one point, stone the donkey and later steal money off him (the money belonged to Old Jock).

But the intensity and emotion felt for Tammy the donkey, and the relationship with Old Jock is a steady and good key plot through out the whole of the book. There is a lot of sadness, especially at the end, but unlike her other books there is no "thrill a minute". If you can get past that, it makes an outstanding book. The actual Donkey Derby is a secondary feature to that book, the only thing that comes near to an "adventure", which other pony (and donkey I suppose) books have. I think although this is better appreciated from an adult's point of view than a child's as in some places it is too adult for today's modern pony book tastes, and it is quite dark even for the PT's. But still the quality for me, makes it my favourite book.

Friday, 10 August 2007


The whole point of this blog is to discuss every single pony fictional book that the Pullein-Thompsons wrote. Eventually I hope to have a website.

If you are unsure who the Pullein-Thompsons are: check out the Wikipedia article.

I am a greatest fan of the sisters, in fact I own all of Diana's pony fictional books, and as of now, missing 8 from Josephine and 12 (one of those I am waiting for) of Christine's. My actual want list is slightly bit longer, but that is because I want to replace some of mine with certain editions, so that they fit nicer with the shelf.

Occasionally I will write about other authors that are on my bookshelf, but it will be always about pony books.

Now for about me. I am 26 year old female, living in North East Wales (that is in the UK). I collect pony books, the only non horse/pony related books are about Rhyl, and the Harry Potter series. Oh and I have the Kim and Aggie's Book on Household Management, but that was given to me last Christmas. I started reading all my pony books last December, and so far I havent finished them!! I have a fair way to go, the books take up 4 shelves, and I have only done one!! I havent finished all the PT's (Pullein-Thompson's), but I have 4 to go (excluding any new ones I get). Though I have taken a break to finish the last HP book.

I dont work for a publishing company (or any book related company), so any opinions are purely my own. I welcome comments, as I know that there is a lot of pony book collectors like myself.

I also collect other pony related items, I will leave that for another post.