Saturday, 7 June 2008

Review: JOSEPHINE - Plenty Of Ponies

This week's book is Plenty Of Ponies. It was first published in 1949, making it one of Josephine's earlier books (in fact it was her third book that she published).

The blurb reads (first picture):-

'Quite frankly, I don't think much of you Esmonds' said the colonel. 'You've got some of the nicest ponies in this Pony Club, but you don't seem to take any trouble.'

The Christmas holidays promise wonderful adventures for the five Esmonds - but somehow they always end up in disgrace. They let The Turk gallop through hounds, October has run riot in Mr. Simpson's garden - and now they've brought chaos to the Pony Club rally.

However, there's still the Children's Meet, and the Esmonds are determined to redeem themselves - and give the colonel the shock of his life....

The second scan is of a Collins Pony Library edition, which does not contain a blurb. However both editions contains illustrations. The Collins Pony Library edition are credited to Anne Bullen, which are presumably the same ones as the first edition. The other one (a White Lion edition) does not credit the illustrator, but they are the same ones as in the Collins Pony Library edition (and presumably, by Anne Bullen). The cover has been done by someone else, however.

The book starts out with Professor Esmond pointing out their bad points, of which they decide to "improve their characters". However things do not go
to plan, even when hunting on Boxing Day the Master gets cross and a Colonel Howard tells them off.

This book is somewhat slightly stuffy, these days people do not think of "improving their characters". However there is a great deal of (mis)adventures to be read in this book, and this makes up for it. Granted, there aren't so many horse filled incidents until near the end, but the relationship of the children is enough to keep you occupied. Perhaps this is not the ideal book to start off with if you have not read Josephine's books before, as this is not her best work. However, it must be remembered that it is an early work of hers, and that is the reason why.

In some ways that old fashionedness sticks out, there is talk of brandy when someone is ill/has an accident, which is not used today in quite the same way (and certainly not given to children) and also of liver pills (which are not used these days either). Also there are frequent mentions of servants and gardeners, which (unless you are very rich) people don't have these days. Also when there is talk of hanging, it also dates it, as we don't have hanging anymore.

It is a book I am not particularly fond of, but if you can get past the old fashionedness of it, it is not too bad. Like All Change/The Hidden Horse, the ponies are a secondary element to this book.