Tuesday, 21 January 2014

PBOTD: 21st January, Diana Pullein-Thompson - Riding with the Lyntons

Today's book is one of my favourites: Riding with the Lyntons (1956). The copy below is quite possibly the first pony book I ever actually owned. 


Armada paperback, cover Mary Gernat, 1963

I think, having read and wept over Black Beauty many times before I reached Riding with the Lyntons, the story made me sad, but didn't repel me. Diana Pullein-Thompson didn't shy back in her books from relating the real and distressing things that could happen to horses, and in Riding with the Lyntons, a pony is so badly injured on the roads it has to be put down. And we hear the shot with which that happens.

Collins first edition, 1956
The pony, Jingle, belongs to the Lynton family, who provide friendship, company and of course dogs and ponies, to only child Lesley when she moves down to the country with her parents. Lesley had fed the ponies on her way home, and she's accused of not shutting the gate properly so that Jingle escapes. The family ostracise Lesley, and her new, friend-filled world, vanishes. All is resolved in the end, but it's not an easy process. Anyone who has experienced the horror when your friends and classmates decide you are on no speaks will sympathise with Lesley and her predicament. If you want a comfort read, Riding with the Lyntons is not for you, but I think this is one of Diana Pullein-Thompson's best. She described children who were lonely, having felt that way herself: the outsider amidst the others, and she understood the attraction of the resolution of that loneliness. The ending of the story is as satisfying as such resolutions always are, with harmony restored, and lessons learned.

Collins Pony Library, 1970s
Riding with the Lyntons was originally published by Collins in 1956, and was illustrated by Sheila Rose. The next edition appeared in 1963, when Armada published their first paperback edition, with a new cover by Mary Gernat with its distinctive, dung-coloured background. Collins republished the book as a hardcover in its Collins Pony Library, with a new, and uncredited cover. The last edition I know about was again by Armada, who followed their Gernat with a photographic cover edition in 1982. 


Armada paperback, 1982

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For more on Diana Pullein-Thompson, including a full and illustrated bibliography, she has a page on my website.




4 comments:

fionaclaire said...

This is one of my favourite books but I lost my copy. But I always loved the first line "I will never forget my first sight of Sparrow Cottage; the sun shone on the ancient tiles......" I must have read it over and over at the age of 8 or so. Thanks for keeping these memories alive, it's nice to know other people appreciate these books.

janebadgerbooks said...

I think we must have read it at about the same age, and I loved it too. I think one of the best things about it is when the injustice is righted, but not with any great dramatics, just one of those inconsequential things that happen in life.

fionaclaire said...

Hi, thanks for replying - I agree about the themes of justice and resilience, I think that's why I loved it so much compared to some of the other pony books I read - mind you I loved them all. Nothing can compare to the experiences of reading those first novels, so special :)

janebadgerbooks said...

That's true - I guess that's why it's so sad when you find a book you remember as being special and it's lost its appeal for you over the years. Hasn't happened that often with pony books, I have to say.