Tuesday, December 29, 2009

The Christmas Pony (1967)

The Christmas Pony
Helen McCully & Dorothy Crayder, il. Robert J. Lee
1967, The Bobbs-Merrill Company, Inc.

On that day, late in the afternoon, quite a few people saw the McCully's man Laurent walking a beautiful big black pony to Cody's stable.

In Amherst, Nova Scotia in 1912, Dr. McCully's wife decides that her three children should have a pony for Christmas. But how to keep a surprise in a small town where everything must be shipped in from the mainland or England?

The McCullys were very good at living as if they were rich.

A line which should tell you nearly everything you need to know about the McCullys. It's the same old mid-century story - a big rambling old house at the unfashionable end of town (which is never the criminal end of town, though), 'only' a few servants, a charming garden, rebellious children with upright hearts, and local roots that extend back a good many years. They would be tiresome except for the humor:
The McCullys and the cats coexisted with the understanding that people were people and cats were cats and it was neither possible nor desirable for it to be otherwise. This understanding made for mutual enjoyment. And the McCullys, keeping to their side of the bargain, never gave the cats names - except for the Angora, who had been named Dora. No one knew how this came about, and everyone was slightly uneasy at this breach of etiquette.

Not truly a horse book, as the majority of the action does not directly involve a horse or pony. But a book about every horsey child's dream - getting a pony under the tree - must be included.

There are several beautiful paintings by Robert J. Lee.

Other books
McCully was a food writer, whose other books were all culinary:
The American Heritage Cookbook (with Eleanor Moderer)
Nobody Ever Tells You These Things About Food And Drink
Things You've Always Wanted To Know About Food and Drink
The Other Half of The Egg
Waste Not Want Not
Cooking With Helen McCully Beside You

Dorothy Crayder apparently wrote other children's books, but nothing seems horsey
The Riddles Of Mermaid House
She And The Dubious Three
She, The Adventuress
The Joker And The Swan

Other seasonal horse books
A Horse For Christmas Morning by Gordon Grand (foxhunting)
The Christmas Horse by Glenn Balch
The Christmas Pony by Sylvia Green
Issie And The Christmas Pony by Stacy Gregg
The Christmas Pony by Wendy Douthwaite (series)
A Horse For Christmas by Joanna Campbell (series)
Starlight Christmas by Bonnie Bryant (series)

Stubby Pringle's Christmas by Jack Schaefer
(a novella really, and about a cowboy, but wonderful Lorence Bjorklund illustrations)

A Miserable, Merry Christmas by Lincoln Steffens (from his autobiography)
(a short story which appears in many anthologies)

No comments: