Friday, 18 April 2014

PBOTD 18th April: Elizabeth Waud - Easter Meeting

Today's pony book has a thoroughly appropriate title: Easter Meeting. Author Elizabeth Waud wrote just one pony book, as far as I'm aware. Easter Meeting is the story of Geoffrey, Felicia, Simon and Loraine Knox. They spend their holidays with an aunt, who has a stud farm. Simon wants to look after his animals; Loraine to paint, but Felicia wants only to ride, and it looks as if this will be scuppered as a party of boys are also coming to stay. After initial disasters when they meet the boys, things calm down, and they all go to a point to point and co-operate in rescuing a horse stuck on the quicksands.

Harrap, 1959, 1st edn, illus Sheila Rose
The book is full of well-observed characters. Flicker (Felicia) is one of those personalities whose feelings and impulses tend to govern everybody else’s. Miss Knox, the aunt with whom the children are staying is brisk in the extreme. The children’s parents are away, which they mostly seem to be, and there is a rather poignant moment when Geoffrey, the eldest at 17, is asked if his mother is dead, as they spend all holidays with their aunt. He replies:
‘ “You thought she was dead? It almost seems like it sometimes,” said Geoffrey, so quietly that John could hardly hear."
But the children, as children do, get on with life. They haven't been dealt a particularly easy hand: their parents are absent, and the aunt is emotionally remote, and makes no concessions at all to the children. She does not like Simon’s animal-keeping habit, and that is that. There is some light on the horizon, which comes from the horses, who are characters just as much as the children, from the stallions Golden Boy and Bayard to the riding school horses Heather and Storm.

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Easter Meeting only had one publication, its first edition in 1959. The author has a page on my website, but if I'm honest, if you've read this blog post you've pretty much read the page.


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