Saturday, 12 January 2008

Review: JOSEPHINE - Patrick's Pony

Patrick's Pony is one of Josephine's hardest to find books. Although reprinted in paperback, this is very rarely seen, and the hard back edition is pretty rare too.

It was first published in 1956 and the picture to the left is of the hardback edition, which is illustrated by Geoffrey Whittam. He is most famous for (at least pony book wise) for the Jackie series, as he did the majority of that series' illustrations.

The blurb reads:-

Patrick was an orphan, and Taffy, his pony, was his dearest possession.

How to prove to his new parents that Taffy only needed food and kindness to make him a good little pony was a problem Patrick and Carol solved very happily.

An exciting warm-hearted pony story.

As a rule, I dont generally agree with things like "warm-hearted" and when I read the blurb for Diana's The Pennyfields which stated that the book was "a happy story, full of fun" I certainly didnt agree with that, this time it is an warm-hearted story. I dont know if exciting is the right word for it, but warm-hearted it is.

Anyway, Patrick having being brought up by an elderly grandfather who is lying ill in the hospital is carted off to a children's home, with his pony Taffy. Taffy lives next door in some rough paddock, due to poor fencing he has to be tied up and Patrick's enemy Brian threw stones at him. So he looks rough in general.

However, Patrick does the best for him, and one day he hears of a family who want to foster him. He agrees to come with them; they live on a farm, so he thinks Taffy will come along.

This book is more of a role reversal. Rather than usually the existing child (or children) being the problem, and the parents trying to get the child to settle down and making things easier, it is the other way around. Carol (the child) welcomes him with open arms, and the father is the one who does not want Taffy.

He (the father) does not want Taffy around, so Taffy is left in the children's home, and instead tries to get Patrick to bond with another pony called Rufus. At one point he is heard to be saying that the pony would be better off dead. In some way, he is very cruel, as Patrick's grandfather did not teach him to use a telephone (his grandfather couldnt "abide them"), Patrick makes a mess of phoning the vet. Instead of teaching him, he laughs at him.

But Carol and Patrick are determined that wont happen, and things happen. Like most pony books, the end is a bit cliché, you know that the pony isnt going to be dead after all.

But this book make you happy and in some ways, warm inside. Unlike Josephine's books, this deals very little with the schooling side of things, but more like Diana's, it is about human relationships.

It gives you a warm pleasant feeling inside this book. Even if you arent a kiddie who is interested in emotions and relationships, then it gives enough excitement to keep you reading. It is a shame that this is one of Josephine's hard to find books, as it deserves to be on more people's shelves.

Funnily enough it is dedicated to a "Phillip". As Christine had a son called Phillip, I wonder if it was written for him?


Jane Badger said...

I read this years ago, and can't remember anything about it so I'm glad you've reviewed it as it's brought back memories! Thank you.

Claire said...

I agree with you, this is a lovely little story and not as well known as it deserves to be. Funnily enough I have just been writing a review of this myself! I also agree that this is more like one of Diana's books than Josephines. Love the picture, much nicer than my pb copy.

haffyfan said...

I like this one too....but didn't you just want to slap Jill, Carol's friend! What a wonderfully annoying charcter she was...just right for a pony club 'horror' (like Sarah rook, Celia Grunter and June Cresswell).

I guess really it had to for the story to be worth writing, but I am so glad it had a happy ending for Taffy and Patrick.