Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Casey Jones Rides Vanity
Marion Holland, author and illustrator
1964, Little, Brown & Company

Casey Jones has outgrown her pony, Top Notch, but is torn at the idea of having to part with him. At the first horse show of the year, she takes him for a last outing and falls in love with the beautiful mare Vanity Fair. An accident lands his owner in the hospital and allows Casey to board her for a few months. The first order of business is to get the lovely mare over her fear of jumping.

A clear, well-written horse show adventure with a lot of very nice drawings. A particularly skillful meshing of character with the horse story in the sibling relationship between Casey and her sister. The heroine is very independent and her adventures are rarely followed by the sort of dutiful scoldings so many authors seem obliged to write, as if fiction were required to carry some sort of moral message of 'be careful, and tell a grownup, don't do scary stuff yourself, kids.' This tendency has become worse in recent years; if this book was written in 2008, the little expedition to Vanity's real home would end up with a policeman or Casey's father telling her off.

The illustrations by Marion Holland are a little fanciful, but that adds to their charm. Some of the pony drawings remind me of Thelwell, but cleaner lines.

Horse Show
Sibling Jealousy

Other Books
No Room For A Dog
The Secret Horse
No Children, No Pets
Everygirls Horse Stories (anthology)
A Big Ball Of String
Billy's Clubhouse
Billy Had A System
Billy's Raccoon
A Tree For Teddy
Timothy And The Forest Folk

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Read this book as a child and have never forgotten it. Very relatable for young people, especially horse loving young girls. The spunky nature of Casey and her determination are inspiring without being preachy or condescending.