Kathleen Mackenzie’s pony books are not generally as dripping with ponies as most books in the genre. She was more interested in families and their relationships than in ponies, not being a rider herself. The pony content of her books is still just about enough to keep the enthusiast interested. Kathleen Mackenzie is also notable for having some of the best and worst dustjackets in the pony book world: Jumping Jan reached the final in a poll on my forum for the best; Nigel Rides Away and the reprint of Prize Pony both did well in the worst dustjacket category.
Kathleen Mackenzie (1908–1993) was born in the Argentine, but returned to England when she was three. Her books often feature large families, for which she had plenty of models. Her father was one of ten, her mother one of 20, and she herself was one of eight (her sister, Violet Morgan, illustrated her books). She started writing when young, and was also interested in the stage, for which she wrote and produced plays. She and her family lived in Cornwall, where they put on pageants, and put on plays at the Minack Theatre.
Finding the books
Not as easy as it was when I started this website. Most of her books are still reasonably easy to find. Jumping Jan, Red Conker and Minda are becoming more expensive, particularly with their dustjackets. The Badgers of Quinion is virtually impossible. Vicky and the Pentires is very hard to find. Green Fox and The Four Pentires and Jimmy are both tricky to find with dustjackets.
Source and links
Dustjackets of her books
Kathleen Mackenzie’s family
The Minack Theatre
Many thanks to Ivan Tammas for the photographs of The Badgers of Quinion and Four Pentires.