Marion P Stroud was one of a small group of authors who wrote evangelistic pony books in the 1960s. Like her contemporary Patricia Baldwin, her books were published by the Victory Press, whose titles were often used as prizes in Sunday School. It is quite hard to find examples without the telltale prize plate at the front. Her other books were devotional; as far as I can see, she wrote just two children’s books.
If Wishes Were Horses is generally a well-written story. It’s the overtly evangelistic elements that jar. Marion P Stroud uses the conventional religious language of the evangelical: the girls have 'asked the Lord Jesus to come into their hearts', which usage does jar with the direct, simple style of the rest of the book. To another evangelical it probably would have meant something, but to someone not versed in evangelical terms it seems incongruous. Conveniently, both heroines and their brothers have asked Jesus into their hearts, so there is no inconvenient opposition to their spiritual journey. It’s a pity the conversion experiences aren’t more naturally expressed, as the rest of the story is a decent enough pony story, albeit with a slightly difficult to believe dog stealing plot line.
Finding the books
Like most of their sub-genre, easy to find and generally very cheap.
Links and sources
The British Library
Thanks to Dawn Harrison for her help with the pictures.