Saturday, 24 May 2014

PBOTD 24th May: Ann Stafford - Five Proud Riders

I'm continuing a bit of a theme here: the pony books which Puffin published. Editor Kaye Webb wasn't a fan of the conventional pony book, but she did publish some excellent pony stories. There are links at the end to all the other Puffin pony stories I've featured so far this year. Webb (and her predecessor, Eleanor Graham) published books from around the world, rightly recognising that horse stories do not have to be dependent on a deathless struggle towards the next rosette at the gymkhana.

Puffin, 1953
Ann Stafford's Five Proud Riders is one of those stories which revolve around a group of brave children venturing out on a long ride on their own. This was pretty much standard fare for the children's pony book right up to the 1960s, but I can't see it being published now, particularly when some of the children are so young. You'd never get an unaccompanied 4 day trek past a risk assessment.

So, it's worth making the most of a plot that has probably been killed by changing attitudes. Five Proud Riders (1937) is the story of Jill and Andy Meadows, their cousin Nigel, and their friends Gay and John set off on a trek across the New Forest. This trek is supposed to teach them, and their cousin Nigel in particular, to fend for themselves, which they certainly do. The usual alarums and excursions happen, added and abetted by those ubiquitous villains of the pony story: gypsies.

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More on Ann Stafford

Other Puffin pony books featured on PBOTD:
William Corbin - Horse in the House
Gunnel Linde - Pony in the Luggage
C Northcote Parkinson - Ponies Plot
Monica Edwards - The White Riders
James Aldridge - Ride a Wild Pony
Anna Sewell - Black Beauty
Don Stanford - The Horsemasters
Irene Makin - Ponies in the Attic
Phyllis Ginger- Alexander the Circus Pony (Picture Puffin)
Monica Dickens - Cobbler's Dream


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