A slightly over-looked pony book author today, however she was in the van-guard of the early pony book writers who focused more on the rider than the 'pony point-of-view' book which was more popular at that time. . Her first pony books were written with Eva Ducat, later she wrote a handful of pony books on her own, which in my opinion were superior. She also wrote some non-pony children's adventure stories.
As she is not a very fashionable writer at the moment most of her books are fairly low-cost. This, and the lovely illustrations of many of them by Stanley Lloyd, makes them ideal books for collectors.
Bunts series: (Written with Eva Ducat) These may be based on reality. The adult characters Miss Fairfax and Miss Margaret who love to surround themselves with ponies and children may possibly be based on the two authors. Also the books were illustrated with photos of real children and ponies which adds to this supposition.
THE PONIES OF BUNTS (COUNTRY LIFE 1933) Reprinted in hardback a number of times by original publisher. SUMMARY: Miss Fairfax, the owner of Bunts (a sort of pony heaven where children are invited to stay in the big house and ride the ponies) finds out that the friends of two of her young guests are "languishing behind...in London with no riding and no animals." She then invites the pair, Diana and John, to join in the fun. But the horsy paradise is marred by the jealousy of one of the boys who rides there.
SEA PONIES (COUNTRY LIFE 1935) SUMMARY: Not strictly a sequel to The Ponies of Bunts but it is linked to the other Bunts books so included here.
PONIES AND CARAVANS (COUNTRY LIFE 1941) SUMMARY: Belated sequel to the first book in the series. Diana and John, some of the other characters from 'Bunts' and some new characters, set off in a horse drawn caravan to attend a pony sale in Dartmoor. At the end of this book there is a hint there will be another sequel but for some reason this never appeared.
Collectors Info: Both The Ponies of Bunts and Ponies and Caravans are easy to find in the UK, although copies with dust jackets can be a bit more elusive. Not
Catherine Series: This series is my favourite of the authors. They have the best characters and the most interesting plots, whilst still retaining the gentle old-fashioned atmosphere of the 'Bunts' books.
PONYMADBOOKLOVERS SERIES RATING: 4 HORSESHOES
1) RIDING DAYS IN HOOKS HOLLOW aka RIDING DAYS (USA title) (COUNTRY LIFE 1944) ILLUSTRATED BY STANLEY LLOYD Reprinted in hardback a number of times by original publisher. American edition published by Westminster in 1948. SUMMARY: Prim and proper Catherine goes to stay with her formidable granny Lady Blakeney. There she meets two children, Wake and Torfreda, who teach her to swim and be less prim and shy, although she is too nervous of horses to learn to ride. The children also befriend a reclusive woman who is known as the local witch and it is through her that Catherine finally overcomes her nervousness of ponies and learns to ride.
2) HORSEMAN'S ISLAND (COUNTRY LIFE 1950) ILLUSTRATED BY STANLEY LLOYD American edition published by Westminster in 1950. SUMMARY: Catherine, along with friends Wake and Torfreda goes to stay with her relatives in Ireland. There they rescue a neglected horse and become entangled in the mystery of a disappearing boy and local ghostly legends.
3) LAND OF PONIES (COUNTRY LIFE 1951) ILLUSTRATED BY CHARLOTTE HOUGH SUMMARY: The children are in quarantine and sent to Dartmoor - the 'land of ponies' - to stay. They meet Jan, a local boy who is friendless, due to his unpleasant disposition. The children however befriend him and find out he is unhappy because his family have lost the rights to a mine they have owned for generations. Together the children tame a wild pony from the moors, help an absent-minded professor who has lost a valuable artifact and solve Jan's own problems.
Collectors Info: The first two were published in both the UK and USA and are reasonably easy to find in both places, although Horseman's Island is rarer and more expensive in the USA than its predecessor.. Land of Ponies does not appear to have had an American printing. It is harder to find than the other books in the series and very hard to find outside of the UK.
Alex and Beryl Series: A short mystery series which is partly pony, partly general adventure, and is set in the South West of England. I think only the third one is a true pony story.
1) MENACE ON THE MOOR (NELSON 1960) ILLUSTRATED BY DRAKE BROOKSHAW SUMMARY: Not a pony book as such but it does introduce the characters of Alex and Beryl.
2) MYSTERY AT MERRIDOWN MILL (NELSON 1962) LLUSTRATED BY ROBERT HODGSON SUMMARY: A ghostly mystery. Do not think it has any pony content.
3) THE RIDDLE OF THE TIRED PONY (NELSON 1964) LLUSTRATED BY DRAKE BROOKSHAW SUMMARY: A story about sailing and smuggling as well as ponies. Alex and Beryl are staying in Cornwall with their old governess. There they meet Keith, find out about smuggling and try to solve the mystery of why a perfectly healthy seeming pony is always tired when they come to ride him. PONYMADBOOKLOVERS RATING: 3 HORSESHOES
Collectors Info: Not too hard to track down in the UK and usually can be bought for a reasonable price. Harder to find elsewhere.
Other Pony Books:
A RIDING WE WILL GO (LUTTERWORTH 1951) ILLUSTRATED BY STANLEY LLOYD SUMMARY: Mary and Dorothy both have riding lessons and become friends. Fictionalised instruction.
Collectors Info: Perhaps a little rarer than some of the other titles, but not usually very expensive to buy in the UK. More elusive and expensive outside of the UK.