Rook, David


David Rook (b.1935) is a writer and illustrator. He’s probably best known for his book The White Colt, an exploration of a boy detached from society who finds a measure of happiness through a white colt he finds on Dartmoor. Rook’s books are about relationships; between human and animal or bird, or between animals. His The Ballad of the Belstone Fox has as its theme the bond between a fox cub and a hound brought up together. Both books were turned into films: The White Colt was filmed as Run Wild, Run Free, and The Ballad of the Belstone Fox as The Belstone Fox. David Rook was also a capable illustrator, and worked on horse and pony books, both fiction and non-fiction. His pony book illustration included Mona Sandler’s The Young Horse Dealers and Joyce Stranger’s Breed of Giants.

Finding the books
The first UK edition of The White Colt can be more pricey than the average pony book. The many paperback printings are easy to find. The Ballad of the Belstone Fox is not as numerous, but is still reasonably easy to find.

Links and sources
The excellent Pony Book Chronicles on The White Colt
David Rook on IMDB


The White Colt
Hodder & Stoughton, London, 1967, 157 pp.
Dutton, New York, 1967, 156 pp.
Corgi, London, 1969, 143 pp.
Remploy, London, 1980
Republished as Run Wild, Run Free
Scholastic, London, 1969
Scholastic, New York, 1974

Philip avoids human contact, but he can cope with the Dartmoor pony he meets. When the pony vanishes he finds solace in falconry.

The Ballad of the Belstone Fox
Hodder & Stoughton, London, 1970, 191 pp.
Corgi, London, 1972, 205 pp.
Republished as The Belstone Fox, Corgi, London, 1972, 1974.

The huntsman to the Belstone pack rescues Tag, a tiny newborn fox cub, and rears him with a litter of hound puppies. After hounds and fox separate, Merlin, one of the hounds, becomes the best hound in the pack, and Tag becomes famous as “the fox they cannot catch.”