Saturday, 5 September 2009

Review: CHRISTINE - Little Black Pony

Little Black Pony is a book meant for younger readers, the same age group as the Sophy series. It is illustrated: by an Lynette Hemmant.

It is also hard to find, as is The Lost Cow (a non pony work) which has a similar cover and is in the same series & has the same publisher. However, I suspect this is due to the fact that it was purely meant for children's primary schools (as opposed to being available in all good book shops) because all copies that turn up are either ex-school or ex-library. The one pictured came from a school. I also remember at primary school reading a Hamish Hamilton Gazelle book (but not this one).

Because of the fact it is meant for younger children (Hamish Hamilton, the publishers say on the back it is a "complete story for the very young". It also does not contain a blurb, however, I have written one of my own.

It is a story about a family of 3 children. They hear a noise in the garden, which turns out to be a pony. They want to keep him, but what happens when they find the real owner?

It is an odd one to place. This book was originally published in 1967, and these says the formal tone and language used sounds rather stuffy and old fashioned. Consequently, because of it's short nature and it's hard to find availability, it is not popular with collectors. This makes it not very valuable, if you can get hold of it.

If you can get past the formal/stuffy nature of the book, it is not a bad short story. It still retains the quality of her other books, however it is a lot better in nature than the Sophy books (and far more realistic). The children and the pony are believable, though the ending is not, and it is nice to see a kind owner of an "lost" horse rather than a cruel one, which happens in some of Christine's later stories (A Pony In Distress for example.).

Spoiler: complete story.

The children are playing in the nursery when they hear a noise. They wonder what it is and look out: it is a pony. They rush down and tell their mother. She and their father get hold of the pony, and put it in the stable, which they conveniently have. The children want to keep it because they have no pets, and they always wanted one. The parents are not too sure: they buy some hay and straw, and call out the vet because it is sick. Fortunately it is not too sick. The next day, they trace the owner, who explains that it keeps on coming there because she used to live there. She says that they can keep it, because she has outgrown the pony. She has a new one and nobody rides it any more. She refuses the money the children's parents offer her.

It's an easy short story, that is perhaps not a delight, but a good read. It's just a shame that it is hard to place. It's hard to give a complete review, without giving away the full story, but I have included a short synopsis for those who want to know what it is about (highlight white space).


Val said...

Highlight white typing is a lovely way of dealing with spoiler clever

Nice review Many Thanks
I'll look out for this one as at 6 and 8 it sounds like it's there interest range