Saturday, 19 November 2011

Review: CHRISTINE - Candy Goes To The Gymkhana

Candy Goes To the Gymkhana 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 Stops A Train.

It is illustrated however, by Gavin Rowe. 

The blurb reads:-

When they hard that there is going to be a local gymkhana, the Fraser children decide to enter their pony, Candy. They spend the next few weeks preparing for their events.

On the great day they set out with high hopes of winning. But they soon find out that winning isn't everything...

Like Candy Stops a Train, the biggest drawback is  the lack of depth to the characters due to lack of pages. However there is slightly more emotion, and an enemy of sorts, so you get a more in depth perspective of the family's life. The situation is more believable than Candy Stops a Train, and for me, a more enjoyable read.

Though the main focus is the day out in the gymkhana, at least with this one you do a more satisfying story, as there is sufficient build up to the main day as well, and a better build up in general than a simple lack of depth story as I felt Candy Stops A Train was.

Again, it's not one of CPT's best, although it is perfectly acceptable for an average 8 year old. As an adult, though it is generally better and more believable than Candy Stops A Train, the sheer lack of depth to the story (due to lack of pages) means it is highly unlikely to appeal to the average person. Best left as a set completer (i.e. you want every single CPT pony story going) rather than an integral part of the collection.

As for the illustrations, despite it being published in the same year, Paperbird (the publishers) have decided to go with another illustrator: Gavin Rowe. The illustrations  I feel are not as good as Terry Gabbey's, they seem more scruffy and rough edged somehow. Whereas there are none that could be called spectacularly bad, and they all fit nicely, when compared to Terry Gabbey's they all lack that final spit and polish. Perhaps it is to do with Gavin Rowe's style, which is slightly different to Terry Gabbey's.  But that is all subjective.


Jane Badger said...

Thanks for the review. She really was a phenomenon though, wasn't she, CPT? I agree with you about the Candy books - not the best books out there for the younger set, but they're certainly not bad, and you have to be impressed by someone who can write for such a wide age range!