PBOTD 14th December: Joanna Cannan - Gaze at the Moon

You might wonder what Joanna Cannan's Gaze at the Moon has to do with Christmas: not a very great deal, but the mare in it is called Air Frost, and that's suitably wintry.

I've always been very fond of this book, and apologise to regulars for yet another appearance from my immensely battered Armada paperback, still with me even though I have a first edition now.

Gaze at the Moon plays with pony book conventions: unlike many pony book heroines, including Joanna Cannan's own Jean, the adventure doesn't start with the wonderful removal from town to country. Dinah and her family are doing the exact opposite, and she's not at all happy about it. Fortunately, Dinah is a typically resolute Cannan heroine. Her own particular talent is drawing, and the book looks at the way she succeeds in getting her work used.

Against all the odds, Dinah does actually acquire a horse: Air Frost. I always wondered if Dinah's rather pointed remark:
"I will not describe how we schooled Air Frost because it is all set out in books on how to school horses and really it was very simple..."
was in fact Joanna Cannan's opinion on the careful expositions of schooling that existed in her daughters' books.

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More on Joanna Cannan


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