Wednesday, 26 March 2008

Pony book compilations

Love 'em or Hate 'em?

Normally I steer well clear of these compilations as they generally tend to disappoint. More often than not they are full to the brim of excellent extracts by well known authors.

So what's the problem you can they disappoint?

Well when you've enjoyed Silver Snaffles in the complete version why an earth would you want to read just a chapter? I also feel for the poor souls who read the extract, desperately want more, only to find it's gonna cost them £40 plus to do so.....I know it's been re released and is much cheaper but it's still pricey.

Then on the other end of the scale are the ones, like the one pictured above, The Best Of Pony Club Stories. These are new (okay they did appear in annuals but over quite a long time span so i doubt unless an annual collector you would have them all) short stories but boy is there a reason they never got fully into print (IMO). On the whole they are rather poor, and apart from an excellent story Chop and Change by JPT, this one is no exception.

A very Silver Snaffles style tale, where ponies do the narrating and tell it from their perspective. It mainly concerns two ponies who are unhappy with their owners. They engineer a plan a swop but find the grass is not always greener. Beautifully written and so different from her usual makes the books and changes it from a don't do it to buy a copy, if only for this small delight. It also boasts an otherwise unobtainable story from the pen of Primrose Cumming, but quite frankly it's it can have come from the author of such greats as Silver Snaffles and The Wednesday Pony I'll never know.

Some are better than others of course and I fondly remember this one above from being at school ( I actually think apart from The Switch Horse it was the only pony book in the school library I didn't have at home) and again it has an otherwise (as far as I am aware) unavailable short story this time by DPT entitled........... However fondly remembering and reading are quite different and the stories were not quite as good as I remembered them bar the DPT.

Then of course there are the other compilations such as the Pullein-Thompson sisters contributions such as proud riders and a pony scrapbook. These are a mixture of stories, puzzles and factual articles on choosing and looking after a pony and were probably quite exciting as a youngster (mainly due to the puzzles) but quickly lose their appeal as you get older (not to mention date terribly!) Lots of oats being ate etc.

This is one I rather like, the cover and title are enough to put anyone off but the stories themself on the whole are actually okay. The author appeared to know her stuff and kept the stories simple and to the point. It is also novel in the fact that the author wrote all the stories herself, infact she has written several compilations to which she is the soul contributor although Molly and The Misfits is the only one I've read so far.

And there not all bad as this one proves, published by Pony magazine, it is extremely good. It features new stories by CPT and Patricia Leitch along with a host of other well written excellent stories and not an extract in sight! In fact I would go as far as to say there isn't a weak story in this lovely book.


Sarah said...

I quite like compilations so that I can get an idea of an authors style or discover books that I've never heard of and would like to read more of (or though this can prove expensive or frustrating). But I agree that often the quality of writing in the short stories are not the best.

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