Tuesday, 27 November 2007

Same Book, Different Title

Two of the offending titles

Have got this from a post about books with same titles on Jane Badger Books Forum, on replying to the initial topic It got me thinking about the times I have thought I'd discovered a new book by an author to find it was re-titled or an American title. Why do publishers do this...one suggestion was to get us to buy all the different copies to raise sales...which sounds about right to me.

It's not so bad if the change is suitable such as CPT's The Doping Affair becoming The Pony Dopers, which made sure the audience was aware it was a child's pony book. Dream of Fair Horses and it's American counterpart The Fields Of Praise are okay if you have actually read the book, on the other hand if you have you probably won't part with it for 'a quarter horse' (or your equivalent) so wouldn't be looking anyway. I have just found out Janet Young Rider aka Horse For The Holidays is also aka Last Summer To Ride, which I was rather pleased to find out about as it was in my shopping basket to purchase tonight! What either subsequent title has to do with the first is beyond me? I was also caught out by the Kestrels/Horseshoe's series. I imported the Horseshoes from USA to find I already had them as Kestrels. I should have known really as some have same title and some have very subtle differences like The Perfect horse/The Special Pony and Jumping lessons/Pony To Jump.

I admit to buying several editions of the same book, sometimes, because I like all of them and can't decide which one to have but it's so infuriating when you've spent rather too much on one to find you've had it years (and aren't that fussed about it to boot!).

Saying all this one of my favourite books is K M Peyton's Free Rein/Last Ditch. I spent far too much buying Free Rein, as I loved the cover, knowing full it was the same book I had spent a small fortune the year before as Last Ditch. But at least I knew and it wasn't a surprise. Not all suprises are good.

Sunday, 25 November 2007

Random Ponies On Covers

Having just taken the below picture of the photographic cover edition of Christine Pullein-Thompson's The Horse Sale, It got me thinking about Random pictures (mainly seems to be photographs) on Pony books. I could not quite work out where this pic relates to the characters human or equine in the book, however it is a long way from the worse I thought of.
But it did get me thinking about what is going through the publishers mind at the time, I am assuming as they tend to be reprints the author has no input, even if not horsey individuals you would think they would try to match the ponies to the story at least. It is not too dissimilar to having a football pitch on the front cover of a tennis book really.

This one really has to take the Golden Carrot for worse cover.

Magic and Moonshine were grey Shetlands so how someone came up with a palomino welsh to star on the cover is anyone's guess. Maybe the guide dog chose?
And the Lions reprints of the Brumby books are not far behind as they feature Goldie, star of the Silver Brumby Movie (or should they have re-titled it The Golden Brumby?)
Elyne Mitchell was present at some of the filming and was involved with the film so clearly she gave her consent to changing the colour...I have not had chance to read my copy of the movie book yet so will have to see if an explanation is given?

There was also an illustrated edition of a pony to school featuring the rearing in front of the car episode where the pony was steele grey/black but on the whole illustrated covers tended to match the contents, maybe illustrators bothered to research the subject. There is also a line of thought that Knight changed Ruby Ferguson's Blackboy into a piebald after new illustrator Bonar Dunlop interpreted him as a piebald. So some publishers clearly considered the details of correct cover pic important.
On the other hand some did manage to get it just right! Here are Magic and Moonshine again, in an earlier re-print, and they are grey shetlands, just as described in story with handlers who could easily be Ian and Angela.

And they got it more than right for this, my favourite non illustrated cover, Welsh Tristram and Connemara Saffron along with Nettie and Alice are represented to perfection by this pair of ponies and riders. Pony Club Cup is also excellent with Alice and Saffy agin and an Asian model to play the part of Hanif. So what happened with Trek????? The bay is far too big to be the only bay pony partnered by a girl, Bowie, could be Ferdinand but then whom was the mystery rider?
Can't be Sea king and Jennifer as they did not feature after part way through Challenge.

Lot's more did get it right and the Jinny books spring to mind also making sure the model had long red hair. Shame they chose a stallion to play the mare Shantih in the 80's editions! But you can't have everything.

Saturday, 24 November 2007

How many rugs do two horses need?

I am just pondering the above having realised in the last 5 days my two boys have worn between them no less than 7 different turnout rugs (British weather has a lot to answer for). While pondering this thought I am also still debating whether Harry needs a super heavy rug or not to add to his warbrobe? They are so much better dressed than I am but the scary thing is I think the 7 rugs they have worn this week is only the beginning as there are at least four other turnouts in shed, an under combo, about half a dozen (ish) or so fleeces, coolers etc and 4 exercise sheets. Even more scarey I sold all the stable rugs a couple of years back and several exercise sheets recently or the amount would have been even greater. I do hope OH dosen't read this as fortunatly he does not appear to notice the rugs the boys are wearing change colour daily!

So back to one of life's great questions how many rugs do 2 horses need?

Tuesday, 20 November 2007

Dancer (A Novel) Shelley Peterson

Hilary James (Mousie) is just 16 when she wins The Fuller Trophy at the Royal Winter Fair, with her stunning horse Dancer. Her triumph is rewarded by an invitation from the Queen (of England) but it also attracts the attention of Samuel Owens, who will stop at nothing to acquire Dancer for his niece. Rebuffed in all attempts to buy Dancer he sets off down a more sinister path by instructing his employee, a somewhat colourful character, Chad Smith, to get Dancer at whatever cost! Mousie is injured in a fall, a sabotage attempt by Smith, and while she is rushed to hospital, Dancer is stolen. This plot is thwarted by Rory and Sandy Casey, a father and son with an ulterior motif of the love variety, coming to the rescue and recovering Dancer. But before long smith strikes again this time with fatal consequences. With Smith out of the picture Christine (Mousie's widowed mum) and Mousie think that their troubles are over and set off for England, where they stay at Clusters built by the fourth Duke of Dewsbury, in the room belonging to his wife Arabella.

Sam Owens is a dangerous, not to mention angry man, he has set his sights on Dancer and intends to have him....dead or alive.....This is where the book goes a little 'odd' and almost off the plot. Mousie has another dream of a lady riding side saddle who warns her Dancer is in danger, just as she did on the night Chad Smith died. She rushes to the stables and sure enough another kidnap attempt is in progress and adverted. Meanwhile a vintage hunting whip belonging to Lady Arabella mysteriously appears where ever Mousie and Dancer go. Before they leave England Mousie is given the opportunity to hunt Dancer where they are joined by the mysterious side saddle rider and narrowly escapes tragedy when another, not so lucky combination, plough into them. On arriving back at Clusters Mousie comes face to face with the side saddle lady (okay in a portrait) and it's Lady Arabella! It appears she died in an hunting accident just like the one Mousie and Dancer narrowly escaped from. Why she appeared the others times was never really explained (or if it was I didn't pick up on it). With another nemesis out of the way they return home, positive that nothing else can go wrong. The budding romances between parents and children continues to blossom until Christine, after a visit from her dead husband Peter, gives in and decides to marry Rory. Before the happy ever after ending disaster strikes again. Sam Owens decides if a job needs doing right, do it yourself and has one last attempt at Dancer. Rory's young sister is hurt in a riding accident and while Mousie and sandy attend her and get help he strikes......and Dancer is left fighting for his life........

I have probably spoilt it already but i will leave you guessing.

A lovely enjoyable book, which was very well written. I am not a royalist, afr from it, but as other Country's appear to have a fascination with our Royal family, I can forgive the Author that and it is a little ott and unbelievable in places but on the whole very well done. I am a little less sure about the 'supernatural' element and in the case of Lady Arabella what bearing it really had to the story (okay it warned Dancer was in danger but why? What was the connection between Lady Arabella and a Canadian horse?) We are told in the blurb that this story began as a dream, Shelly Peterson was in Prague when one night she awoke from a vivid dream about a girl and a horse and wrote it down...maybe this explains the 'odd' bits.

The characters were super, well developed and likeable and the budding romances were done in an unobtrusive way while remaining central to but not over shadowing the plot. A somewhat unique pony book and my first Canadian pony book (as far as I am aware).

Highly recommended to all!

Thursday, 15 November 2007

A Shallow Sort Of Post

Yesterday I received a 'new' (to me) copy of one of my favourite pony books. It was a first edition of Prince Among Ponies by Josephine Pullein-Thompson. I have a somewhat battered paperback I have had since a child (and read hundreds of times hence battered appearance) but have been after the first ed for a couple of years now. One because I am trying to replace all my paperback copies with first ed's HB's where applicable and two because it has the most beautiful dust wrapper illustration. I read a post on another blog quite recently about best and worst covers and receiving this book made me remember it and also got me thinking how my favourite books in my collection (story wise) are not necessarily my favourite books (as in ones that look good on the shelf!).
So this a somewhat shallow post I admit.

I love the fact that this one is so PINK....and from a pre Jordan era. I also like the fact that is an extremely rare title (although I saw one go for a starting bid on eBay recently).

Being a cowgirl at heart I had to pick this one. Norman Thelwell's cartoons are hilarious and sum up our relationships with our equine friends perfectly. I am also biased owning Harry who is straight out of a Thelwell cartoon (not to mention his antics).

Again I am being shallow and love the rarity of this one but also the stunning golden pony who reminds me very much of a horse in a book I had as a child, a stunning Akhel-Teke in the most amazing shade of palomino you ever did see...just like polished gold.

I do like this story, especially as it's a true one and this picture on the jacket is stunning. The CBC edition for some reason went with a hunting pic that is not a patch on this. I also like the photo of the real Rosina Copper that can be found inside the flap on this dust wrapper.

The next few covers I couldn't choose between, so included them all, as I think they are stunning....the pictures are so simple and I love the minimal use of colour which features on a few of the PT jackets of this era...(Show Jumping Secret, Trick Jumpers, Horse Sale to name but three as well as the books below).
My favourite JMB and a book I had on constant renewal from the library as a child.
This is particularly delightful due to the adoring look on the dogs face as he looks at his mistress, as well as being a lovely story.
Anne Bullen's drawings are mind blowing at the best of times but I think this book contains some of her very best. I also like the rarity factor again of this one and the fact it is in pristine condition still.

Adonis is equisite on this one with his lovely 'breedy' Araby head....most little girls dream pony I think.
Sadly no wrapper for the next one but the jewel in the crown for all Pullein-Thompson fans and collectors.
Another truly stunning but simple pencil line drawing, so much more effective than many of the gawdy colourful wrappers. I have yet to come across an M M Oliver not illustrated in this style (apart from the photo ones). Whether it was the era or the authors choice I would love to find out.
Now I am being very shallow indeed, don't like the cover at all but I don't know of anyone else who owns a copy of wild echoes Ringing so it has to be there for exclusivity. (And yes I am aware I will get hundreds of emails saying I have it too!)
And saving the best for last
I can hardly leave out the Jewel in most pony book collectors crown a first ed (even if in a little pre loved condition) of Silver Snaffles. Now if it had a wrapper..............

Thursday, 8 November 2007


Meez 3D avatar avatars gamesDo you like my new Buckskin? He has finally finished trying to buck me off and is now behaving in a reasonaable manner. Comes highly recommended as requires no feeding, feet trims, vet fees, does not roll in mud and does not even poo!

Wednesday, 7 November 2007

Expensive Pony Books

Having just spotted a book I sold a few months back up for sale again at over £100, it got me thinking...do people really buy these three figure sum books? You may have guessed but yes it is Silver Snaffles and I was happy with the price I got (more than double what i paid) but it got me thinking. I must admit I have been quite lucky regarding my collection...the most I have paid for a book to date is £35 and I have bagged a few bargains along the way including both the copy of SS i sold and a first ed for less than £30 for both and Brumby Racer for about £7 to name but two. The fact I love ferreting around in old book shops helps I think...the messier, darker, bigger the health risk the better in my opinion...I hate the neat, orderly and light ones (all the spines sunned and no gems to happen upon under a pile of boxes!). But this leads me to my biggest regret.......having bagged Brumby Racer I decided to Put it on Amazon and it sold....I know that's the point of putting it on but i never expected anyone to stump up the cash....now how will I ever get hold of it again at a reasonable price?

Saying all that if anyone has copies of Mystery On The Moor by JPT or Caroline Canters Home by Caroline Akrill I may be prepared to up my price for most expensive book I have bought.

Sunday, 4 November 2007

Riding With The Lyntons

Is the latest pony book I have read, having now run of of Trebizan titles. I have had a copy of this since I was a child (I think it was my mums) but don't actually re-call ever reading it. The story was certainly not familiar so if i had, I had only read it once. Maybe it's the uninteresting cover that put me off, as I discovered I have 3 different copies and all have pretty uninspiring covers in particular the 'photo' edition. I haven't been able to get hold of a first edition but the cover (as with all books of this era) is stunning and looks like possibly a Sheila Rose? The Collins Pony libs, come to think of it, all have uninspiring covers without any exceptions I can think of whereas the crown pony library books have stunning jackets (I especially like Grey Arrow). Maybe it is because the Collin's were made as 'cheapies' and of course the matt boards the covers were made from didn't help the pics one bit. Thinking about it some of the Collin's Seagull libraries had pretty dire covers too!
On the other hand I bought Mary Gervaise's Belinda books on the strength of the covers and look where that got me!!!

I've gone off on a tangent now so back to the Lyntons. Lesley, pony mad but pony less, and her family move to the country. Maybe based lightly on Diana's own upbringing - having an author as a mother , then moving to the country and having a pony at last? - For Lesley's father is an, initially struggling, Author who strikes gold, so to speak, right at the end of the story. Lesley thinks it will be lonely in the country until she realises the nearest house is home to pony mad family the Lyntons. All is well and after finally meeting them she ends up riding out happily, for a short while, with the family. However disaster strikes when Lesley feeds two of the ponies, who then shortly after escape onto the road where 1 is hit by a car and PTS. Of course the Lyntons blame Lesley (I'm sure I would to be honest in same situation), who is not sure herself if she shut the gate and that is the end of that friendship shall we say. Lesley's parents then buy her her own pony, who develops strangles but turns out to be a right little cracker, and by and by some history surrounding the mysterious Lyntons emerges as does a very important fact...Jangle (or was it Jingle...I only finished it last night and have already forgot) can open gates with her teeth. The Lyntons, who are a decent bunch really, all apologise and the story ends with them all riding out together and the sale of the TV rights of Lesley's father's book.

Not I feel one of Diana's best books (this honour is firmly reserved for Janet Must Ride) but much better than the covers would suggest. As ever it is well written although at times I did wonder if parts of the story were really necessary as they had no real impact on the story such as the mystery around the Lyntons and the changing of their name and even the pony developing strangles. All in all very readable and more enjoyable than I expected, which is always a bonus as so many of the very 'hyped' up books just don't 'offer the goods'.

Friday, 2 November 2007

Disgraced woofhound!

A doggy post today. My naughty Woof hound is rather a fan of chasing fluffy creatures. Being part hound we put it down to having a strong hunting instinct and it is usually reserved for squirrels, small dogs, who look like squirrels in the distance, the odd larger dog when she hasn't got her glasses on (she is getting on in years) and cats who dare to come in the garden. She will regulary vanish while out in woods for lengths of time but this morning went a little too far. She was in the fields accross the road and spotted a cat.........which legged it straight out onto the road (what would you have done if you were the cat) at this point the selective hearing (even worse than that of young children) cut in and the cat was persued by Jade (hobble forgotten as usual in the excitement) down the road........with the noise of a bus approaching round the corner. Fortunatly on this occasion the cat ran up a nearby driveway and a few seconds later a rather sheepish hound appeared, hearing restored!, but the other possible outcomes don't bear thinking about. The pic shows her feeling very sorry for herself (because she was naughty or because the cat got away is yet to be decided).

By the way theres a new Forum just starting up, mainly dedicated to pony books. I'm sure it will be great when it gets up and running properly so we all need to get posting!