Norton, Olive

Olive Norton wrote a few detective novels, as well as this, which is unfortunately her only pony story. If you like Veronica Westlake’s The Ten Pound Pony, you’ll probably enjoy this. It’s a story about the attitudes we take, and how it is as well to keep an open mind. Tabby and her sister Anna-Jane are desperate for a pony, but after their father falls ill, that looks pretty unlikely. Their mother has what now seem very dated ideas about earning ones’ living: 'We may be short of money, for the time being,' she said. ‘But we don’t have to tell the world. It isn’t done. We must just manage with what we have, that’s all.' Tabby, however, does not take this attitude: appearances are not there to be kept up, as far as she is concerned. She is an immensely resourceful figure and soon sets about trying to earn some money to buy Peggy, the pony she has fallen in love with.

I was initially surprised that Tabby’s mother eventually accepts the need to earn some money whilst not doing a stroke herself, but she does crack and starts working too, and she is the one who sees the true June, whom Tabby considers a snobbish nightmare.

Tabby is a very attractive figure, and although the television quiz seems a slightly unlikely way of earning money (and one not exactly open to all), the plot holds up well and the book is a vivid and sparky read.

Finding the book
Not at all easy to find, alas.