Saturday, 10 November 2007

Review: DIANA - Ponies In the Valley

Ponies In the Valley is this week's book. It was first published in 1976, and is also part of a series. It is also the final series I have left to do, the other books I have left, which are 5 excluding this one, the vast majority are not part of a series.

Before you all moan, yes, I have discounted the "Black's". This is because when I got hold of my copy of Black Beauty's Family with the elusive Black Raven in, I also discovered there is another Black Beauty's relative story by Diana, which is entitled Black Piper. So because there were so many editions of Black Beauty's Family/Clan, and they were published under different names, I am making sure that there are no other "Black" stories hidden in the woodwork. But fear not, I am planning to do the "Black" stories at one point, it will all be together, at the same couple of weeks, that I will tackle the following books: It Began with Picotee, Fair Girls and Grey Horses and Pullein-Thompson Treasury Of Horse And Pony Stories. Before you all moan (again!) I know that Fair Girls and Grey Horses is a non fictional book, and this blog is about their (pony) fictional books. But, like their mother's books, I feel this has a valid place. It gives a fascinating insight into their childhood. I could prattle on about their autobiography, but before you know it, I might as well change the title, as I would have done a review. But back to this week's book.

The blurb reads:-

Do you know what's it like to long for a pony...?

Sandy had dreamed for years of her own grey mare. Then her parents decide to pack up their city lift and live on a farm - with stables! And when Fergus finds Mimosa at the horse sale, it seems as if all Sandy's dreams are coming true...

But Mimosa is uncontrollable - and if Sandy and Fergus cannot manage her, they will have to sell her. Why does she behave so badly? The answer comes as a complete shock...

And so does the dreadful discovery, one night, that the gates are open, and the field empty...

The "Sandy and Fergus" series of books is one that I enjoy, even more so than the Pony Seekers series. It tells of Sandy's desire to have one, their upheaval to the Welsh Marches (it doesnt given an exact area, but it does mention that is in the Wales border, and Shropshire isnt close by. As I am not that far from Shropshire myself, the area I live in is generally known as the Welsh Marches, though I suspect that they were based further south than I am), and their life.

It tells of how they adjusted from life in the city to life in the country. Not just them, but life as a whole. In some ways it is more realistic, though it doesnt have any tragedies. Anyone moving from the town to the country (and vice versa) can relate to that. How they struggle to fit in and finally be accepted by almost everyone.

There is a horsey element, like the blurb says. Mimosa (and the borrowed pony: Bourneville) are good solid equine characters, and unlike Diana's other books, there isnt really a horsey accident. In many ways, the getting of Mimosa, and the influence on their life is more of a subplot than anything else.

There are two interesting twists: horse wise and non horse wise, but there is enough to make everyone happy. A good solid book with an excellent start to the series. In fact I would say it is good enough to stand on it's own.