PBOTD: 24th March, Ruby Ferguson - Jill Has Two Ponies and the Jill series

Making an unscheduled reappearance is Ruby Ferguson's Jill Has Two Ponies. That's because it's my sister's favourite pony book, and so specially for her, here is it is.

We had this version, though this isn't ours because that has just about decayed now through overuse. Our collection was a bit of a mixed bag. We had to take what we could get: no chance of getting a beautiful matching set. No one ever seemed to stock a full set of Jill titles, so we bought them whenever we could. It did take us a year or two until we got them all, and here they all are: our childhood collection.

Knight, 1970s, cover W D Underwood
Knight, 1970s, cover W D Underwood
I did love the Armada cover of Jill Enjoys Her Ponies, and I'd love to know who it was by. Whoever it was, they could draw both horses and people, a rarer skill than you'd think. If I'm being really picky, Rapide wasn't a flaxen chestnut, but I didn't care.

Armada, 1960s
It was back to the 1970s versions for Jill's Riding Club. 

Knight 1970s, W D Underwood cover
Our version of Rosettes for Jill was another by the mystery Armada artist. I do remember buying this one. For a brief period, our town had a toy shop, and for an even briefer period, it sold books. Amongst them was Rosettes for Jill which I pounced on with joy. At the same time I also pounced on Barbara Cartland's The Pretty Horsebreakers, thinking it was a pony book. My mother saw it when I triumphantly bore it home, said "Why on earth did you buy that?" and when I said "Because it's a pony book," said "Hmmm," and went off to leave me to discover the awful truth for myself.

Armada 1960s
Knight 1970s
Jill and the Perfect Pony was my favourite Jill. I loved the knots Jill tied herself into when she decides not to tell the family she's staying with that she's not actually Amanda Applewood, whom they're expecting.

Knight 1970s
Knight 1970s
So what was your childhood set of Jills like? Were you presented with an immaculate set of matching hardbacks by your doting aunt? Did you have to wait until you were an adult before you got the full set? Or did you, like us, have a beloved set which didn't match, but you didn't care because the books were quite possibly the best pony books ever?


Kate Lattey said…
Hmm, that's a tricky question actually. I'm trying to remember which I had first! I think it was A Stable For Jill, and it was the 1980s (I think) with the photo cover. Jill's Pony Trek was another early one that I read, and my school library had Rosettes for Jill, and possibly Jill and the Perfect Pony. I think Pony Jobs for Jill was the last one I read, it took me forever to track down and then the ending was bitterly disappointing! I'm almost tempted to tear the pages out and rewrite it (not that I would - though I did tear the Epilogue out of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows - I didn't like it so I excised it from my copy! Sacrilege I know). I have the matching set of Knight 1970s covers now, after a few years of careful trading :)
Janet Rising said…
My intro to the hallowed world of Jill was via a special hardback version presented to me for good attendance at Sunday School. But - joy - it had the wonderful Caney illustrations. I borrowed all the original hardbacks from the library, but the rest of my Jills were Armada paperbacks (still with the right illustrations and always with Black Boy). I never did get the full set and always search (some hope) for originals in every charity shop and antique/junk shop I go to. One day...
janebadgerbooks said…
I wish I'd gone to your Sunday School. The most exciting thing I got was a copy of Silver Skates - I was very fond of it, but it didn't have quite the excitement that a real live pony book did! I hope you will find the other books some day. I'm still looking for first editions of Jill Has Two Ponies and A Stable for Jill (with dustjackets) that I can afford!

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