Saturday, 12 November 2011

Review: CHRISTINE - Candy Stops A Train

Candy Stops A Train is part of the Candy series. It is not to be confused with Pony Seekers series by Diana, which is sometimes called the Candy series.

It was first published in 1989 and are aimed at a much younger age group than the majority of Christine's books. Consequently, there are not many pages. There is no definitive start to the series, so it does not matter which one you read first: the other is Candy Goes To The Gymkhana.

This book is illustrated by a Terry Gabbey.

The blurb reads:-

When Liz, Neil and Vicky Fraser discover that the family pony, Candy, is missing from her paddock, little do they know what a frantic race against time lies in store for them...

There is a reference in this book to Good Riding, a non fictional work which is conveniently written by Christine. 

As for the book, well it doesn't set the world on fire. Christine wrote much later in her life stories for younger children (the pony book series Sophy; the non pony series Ben are two examples), and none were a huge hit. The lack of pages means that there is a lack of depth into the characters. There is no readily identifiable characters, no anti heroes, or people you want to throttle which are found in most of her other books. The characters here seem to have no faults other than Mrs Fraser, who lack of concern about her children's safety (considering the children are hardly old enough to be left alone), means that she leaves them alone. But that is often a cliché of pony books, that the children can have an adventure without needing the parents, who often disappear in the first few pages, or are absent entirely from the book. There is a brief appearance of a Mrs Simpkins, but to be honest the character is unimportant to the story, and so makes no difference to whether or not she was in it. The children seem to get on very nicely, with no outright displays of emotion, other than slight concern for their lost pony's whereabouts.

Still, it is a uncomplicated tale, which will appeal to most children. If you are looking for an ideal tale to read to your 8 year old, then you cant go far wrong with this offering. It's a more traditional tale, and not an expensive one either. It does make a change than modern fantasy based offerings. If you are an adult collector, then it's not too much of a hardship leaving this off your shelves, and going with Christine's other more older (both in terms of when she wrote and what age range) tales, which are more likely to enthral you.

The illustrations by Terry Gabbey are all very nicely painted, and clearly has a keen eye for horses. Yes they are not in the league of the greats, such as Lionel Edwards, Anne Bullen or Sheila Rose, but fit the story well, and on the whole, well executed.


Jane Badger said...

Lovely to see another review! I look forward to reading about the rest of the series.

pullein-thompson-archive said...

Thanks Jane!