Doty, Jean Slaughter

About the author

Jean Slaughter Doty (1929–91) was an excellent writer, and her books are well worth seeking out.

She was born in New York, and in the 1950s, co-produced and wrote The Adventures of Danne Dee, a children’s programme. She was married to the cartoonist Roy Doty, and lived in Connecticut with her husband, children and numerous horses, dogs and Siamese cats. Her equine experience was wide: she hunted in England and Ireland, and was well known for breeding Welsh ponies at Rockrimmon farm, as well as Keeshond dogs. She was a show judge at numerous shows, including the National Horse Show at Madison Square Gardens.

Her best known book in the UK is Can I Get There By Candlelight?, a time-slip story about a girl who moves next door to a derelict country estate. When she and her pony go through the gate between her house and the estate, she is transported to the estate in its glory, a hundred years ago.

None of her other books were published in the UK, but they are very well worth finding. I haven’t read all of the books, by a long way, but I am particularly fond of the twosome: Summer Pony and Winter Pony. These are about Ginny and her pony Mokey and are both lovely reads. American books held on to the idea of illustrating books longer than the UK, and these are beautifully illustrated by Ted Lewin (Winter Pony), and Sam Saviit (Summer Pony). Summer Pony and Winter Pony have now been reprinted, so are available from Amazon, but beware as the latest printings are simplified versions for unconfident readers.

The Monday Horse and The Crumb are about abuses in the showing world. They’re aimed at an older audience than the Mokey books, and are a darker read. Yesterday’s Horses is also something of a dark read. A girl finds an abandoned foal, but this pales into insignificance at first as a fatal virus ravages the local horse community.

Under her maiden name, Jean Slaughter, Jean wrote several pony care and riding instruction books.

Finding the books
Most are available relatively easily secondhand, but beware, as the latest printings of Summer Pony and Winter Pony are simplified versions for unconfident readers. The trickiest title to source appears to be Dark Horse.

Links and sources
Obituary, The Hour, April 2, 1991
Dustjacket of Winter Pony
Thanks to Susan Bourgeau and Dawn Harrison for all their help with the photographs.

Bibliography (horse books only)

Summer Pony

Collier Books, New York, 1973, illus Sam Savitt
Macmillan, London, 1973
Scholastic pb, 1973
Reprinted 1976
Random Horse, 2008, illus Ruth Sanderson

Ginny rents a pony for the summer. She is desperately excited by the idea, but
when the pony turns up, Mokey is thin and frankly, a disappointment.

Winter Pony

Macmillan, New York, 1975, illus Ted Lewin
Scholastic pb, 1975
Random House, 2008, illus Ruth Sanderson

Ginny teaches her pony Mokey to pull a sleigh. Mokey has more surprises for
Ginny than just being able to pull a sleigh, however.


Macmillan, New York, 1974, illus Ted Lewin
Scholastic, New York, 2012

Not a pony book, it’s a dog book about a girl and a Keeshond she rescues, only to discover that the pup is a valuable show dog.

The Crumb

Greenwillow Books, New York, 1976
Weekly Reader Children’s Book Club, 1976
Scholastic pb, 1978

Cindy gets a summer job at a smart stables, but soon finds herself running up against the seedy side of winning in the show ring.

The Monday Horses

Pocket Books, 1979
Greenwillow Books, New York, 1984

Cassie’s Arab stallion Toby needs to recover from an injury. Cassie works at a local stable in return for Toby’s board, and soon meets the nasty side of the show ring.

Can I Get There By Candlelight?

Macmillan, New York, 1980, illus Ted Lewin
Scholastic, 1980
Scholastic, London, 1982
Scholastic, New York, 2012

Time slip story: Gail rides her pony through a gate and meets Hilary, who is from
another, earlier time.

The Valley of the Ponies

Macmillan, New York, 1982, illus Dorothy Haskell Chuhhy
Scholastic, New York, 1982
Scholastic, New York, 2012

Jennifer boards a pony during the summer and manages to rescue a herd of ponie

Dark Horse

William Morrow, 1983, illus Dorothy Haskell Chuhhy
Scholastic, 1983

Abby works on Sandy, and sees that he is quite a horse after she finds him jumping
out of every corral. Although he loves hunting and goes like a train, it is quite a
different matter when she tries to jump him in shows.

If Wishes Were Horses

Macmillan, New York, 1984
Scholastic, New York, 2012

Stephanie and her sister Cam are struggling on their own to keep their horse farm going after their father’s death. Not the cheeriest of reads, it must be said.

Yesterday’s Horses

Macmillan, New York, 1985

Kelly finds an orphaned foal in the mountains. He looks like prehistoric horses she’s seen pictures of. Kelly’s mother, a vet, is having a terrible time as a mysterious virus is ravaging the local horses. There seems to be no cure. The only animal left untouched is the foal, and Kelly starts to wonder..