(With more than a nod to Horse and Hound, who have done similar things for the 80s and 90s.)
Elephant-ear jodphurs were still a thing
The Jacatex page in PONY Magazine was something you poured over
for hours at a time, trying to work out if there was some way you could magic
together the enormous amount of shillings necessary to get the ‘Pat’ riding mac.
Or the ‘Pat’ hacking jacket. Or the ‘Pat’ jodphurs. Anything, really, that wasn’t
the elephant ear jodphurs that were about third-hand when you got them.
Reading PONY Magazine cover-to-cover, even Pat and Pickles,
which somehow you never really took to.
Knowing Jill’s Gymkhana off by heart. And Jackie Won a Pony.
And I Had Two Ponies. And No Mistaking Corker. And any other pony book you
could get your hands on.
Riding ponies up from the field in just a headcollar. You had
a hat as a small nod to health and safety.
Your riding teacher thinking that standing on the pony’s
quarters as it was going round the field was a totally acceptabl…
There are some wonderful pony book covers out there, and then there are the ones that stick in your mind for all the wrong reasons.
The original hardback edition of Gillian Baxter's Horses in the Glen had a prettycover by Elisabeth Grant. The Children's Book Club edition had something copied, rather badly, from Mathilde Windisch-Graetz's The Spanish Riding School.
The Children's Book Club had form for producing iffy covers. Here is their version of Monica Dickens's Cobbler's Dream (which arguably is not a children's book anyway – or at least only for a child with a strong stomach). The Michael Joseph first edition is infinitely better.
Possibly the most glorious Children's Book Club effort is this one, for Monica Edwards's The Wanderer, which does make you wonder if the illustrator had ever seen an actual horse.
Fortunately the original artist, Joan Wanklyn, had.
Scholastic Book Services (who, like the Children's Book Club, did also produce som…
I actually had no idea when I started reading the Jill books that a. Black Boy was actually supposed to be black, and b. Jill was not born in the 1960s. This does show just what an impact illustrators make on us. To many, many people, Black Boy will always be a piebald, and that is all down to Bonar Dunlop. He illustrated the first Knight Jill paperbacks in the 1960s, and provided internal illustrations for three titles. When these books were published, Black Boy became a piebald in the text as well. He remained piebald in every edition after that, and so 40 years' worth or so of Jill readers have a piebald Black Boy galloping about their imaginations.
By the time I’d actually bought all the books and finished the Jill series, I had realised that there were other ways of looking at Jill, as the versions I found included some of the old Armada paperbacks, illustrated by Caney. Caney’s Jill was quite a different creature to Bonar Dunlop’s – much less sophisticated but with a charm …