Friday, 31 January 2014

PBOTD: 31st January, Catherine Harris - We Started a Riding Club

Catherine Harris was another pony book author who started young. We Started a Riding Club was her first book, written while she was in her teens. It's one of those pony books with no mystery at all about its title: the protagonists, Simone, Monica, Dean and Charles, start a riding club. They're fortunate children, as they have ponies, and all the help they need, as their grandfather fortunately happens to be an MFH.

Blackie, 1954, first edition
The grandfather was one of those terrifying MFHs who probably bellowed at anyone who sinned on the hunting field, and would have slaughtered anyone who dared to run into hounds. There is little chance for the riding club to stray from the straight and narrow under his patronage, and they go on to have a thoroughly respectable mock hunt. The riding club does require hard work from its youthful founders though, and you can't help but feel life is in some ways easier today when you see the children typing out each individual notice rather than simply running them off in seconds on the computer.

The book is an entertaining and undemanding read. Catherine Harris was an author who definitely improved as she grew older, but We Started a Riding Club doesn't promise anything it doesn't deliver.

Blackie, reprint, 1966
We Started a Riding Club was originally published by Blackie in 1954. with a cover illustration by Maurice Tulloch, who was also responsible for the internal illustrations. In the 1960s Blackie produced a cheaper reprint edition of many of their books, with new cover illustrations, and a rather startling orange background to the dustjacket. Harry Green was the artist commissioned to do the illustrations: We Started a Riding Club is one of the less startling. Take a look at the Catherine Harris link below and take a look at They Rescued a Pony if you want to know what I mean.

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For more on the author, and pictures of all her other pony books, see here.

1 comment:

Fiona Moate said...

I loved this book!
It is so funny, when the children go to buy the pencils.......
Loved all the characteristics of people and ponies.
I realise now I'm older what a privileged bunch they were. Still it's wonderful escapism.