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Babette Cole writes and illustrates children’s books: mostly of the early reader type, but Babette Cole’s world is not one of mimsy whimsy. She gives it to the infant reader straight. Dr Dog, mainstay of my children’s childhood, does not flinch from nits or worms. Her Fetlocks Hall series is aimed at the confident reader, and is set at a manic boarding school. Its heroine, Penny Simms, becomes the Unicorn Princess, and centre of the fight against the wicked Shetland-sized devlipeds. Having loved her books for younger children, I was expecting to love the Fetlocks Hall books: the devlipeds I loved; the rest I wasn’t quite as convinced by. Nevertheless the series is an interesting excursion into a field usually populated by creatures of an utterly sickly goodness, and the pictures are of course wonderful.
Babette Cole has a solid equestrian background. She owns and runs the Holnest Stud, and founded the Patey Hats Legover Ladies’ Chasing Team - the only chase team to ride sidesaddle. Babette hunts with the Blackmore and Sparkford Vale on Scrappit, riding sidesaddle. The hunt’s country is “infamous for its mud and meaty hedges”, but although only 15 hh, Scrappit has learned to surf over the mud.
Finding the books
All in print.