Sunday, 16 September 2007

Review: DIANA - Three Ponies and Shannan

Three Ponies and Shannan is the sequel to last week's book: I Wanted A Pony. Unlike I Wanted A Pony, this focuses on Christina, who through a Pony Club camp, meets Augusta, the star of the previous book. Unfortunately, for some reason, that is the tone of the rest of the series (A Pony To School and Only A Pony). I have no idea why Diana chose to take that route, as now Augusta is resigned to be a secondary character (if somewhat minor) now. You could easily be forgiven for thinking that it is not in the same series as I Wanted A Pony.

This edition is not illustrated. 

The blurb reads:-


The barn looked romantic in the moonlight and the ponies seemed to be pleased to see me...but my knees knocked, my hands shook. Filled with despair, I crept forward. Did a drowned boy await me? As I gazed into the dark depths of the well, I could see no red hair, no grasping hand, nothing but the bubbles on the water...

Then suddenly there was a splash, and Terence appeared, desperately trying to keep himself afloat. His face was not deadly pale like those of drowning people described in books, but he appeared frantic and struck out widely with his arms, crying: "Help me. Quick, help me!"

Discounting the lack of Augusta, this makes an interesting story. Christina is obviously a rich girl, and in some ways, rather like Augusta's cousins. Her life is involved with nothing but shows, but to me, she seems richer than Augusta's cousins, having a butler (apart from a groom, Augusta's cousins have only a maid) as well as groom. There is talk of Lobster , which even in these days, are not cheap. Through a series of events, she managed to get a dog (that is where the Shannan bit comes from), though she has the three ponies already.

The book goes along quite nicely and nothing extraordinary happens (unless you count the incidents with Shannan, which make pleasant reading), until the camp. Apart from the aforementioned meeting of Augusta, she is forced, through Shannan's adventures to change herself (even falling into a pond at one point, and later, saving Terence), as previously she had been incredibly spoilt, not daring to look after the ponies herself (which is what the other characters of the story do). Her parents do spoil her, so much so, that she hadnt got to think for herself - even to the point it was a sin to get muddy. The gymkhana at the end makes a good end to the story.

It is a easy book to get into, and not too heavy going, unlike some of Diana's, but still for me, the shift of focus in the rest of the series onto Christina rather than Augusta, is somewhat of an annoyance. If this had been a focus on Christina, and the rest of the series had been equally on both of them (since Augusta turns out to be pretty important), then it could be forgiven.


haffyfan said...

God, was Christina an annoying character, rich kids with super ponies are bad enough but at least they are normally the bad guys/enemy, ie June Cresswell. Not sure what DPT was thinking of, in reality i'm sure she would have dispised(sp) Augusta for being a different class.
I wanted this book more than any other as a child and unfortunatly was rather dissapointed when many years later I read it. I also blame buying it for my now out of control pony book habbit re- occuring after I thought I had kicked in my teens!

Kate said...

I actually preferred Christina to Augusta! I found Augusta annoyingly ditzy, always off in dreamland. I liked that the book was from Christina's perspective and that despite being spoilt and having fancy ponies, she wasn't a horrible girl.

The parts of this book that I like least (asides from the incredibly rude little pony club kids) is her out of control dog Shannan. If you can't control the dog, don't let it run loose!