Haas, Jessie

About the author

A few years ago a friend and fellow collector, Fran, sent me a list of American pony books she had for sale. At that point, I’d read only the American books that were in print in the UK: Walter Farley, Mary O’Hara, Rutherford Montgomery and William Corbin. I had no idea at all what books to go for in the long list of authors I’d never heard of, so I asked Fran to pick out ones she thought were the best, and a bag of books made its way by M-bag over the Atlantic. I spent a marvellous few weeks reading my way through them all.

If ever Fran tells me a book is good, I believe her. There wasn’t a duff one in that bag, and in it were several titles by Jessie Haas. There was Runaway Radish, which is an absolute charmer of a book, with wonderful illustrations by Margot Apple. Jessie’s first book, Keeping Barney, was also in there, and its sequel, A Horse Called Barney. I loved them all, and enthused about them so much I sold them all in my next catalogue.

Several of her books are obtainable through Amazon, and I can thoroughly recommend them. She writes for all ages from picture books for the youngest children to books for teenagers. I only wish that the picture books had been around when my own children were small, as my (unsuccessful) campaign to indoctrinate them into the wonders of The Horse might have stood more chance of success.

Of her books currently in print, Sugaring and Appaloosa Zebra are both pitched at the youngest children. Appaloosa in particular is a dream of bliss for a small child who loves ponies. Birthday Pony and Jigsaw Pony are proper books, aimed at the 8–10s. They have dustjackets and cover illustrations that do not assume the reader is a brainless lover of cutesome fluff. My daughter, who is not a pony child, picked these up of her own accord and read them, even though they are technically a bit young for her.

Jessie Haas has plenty of books in the pipeline. She lives in Vermont, in a tiny house in the woods she and her husband built themselves. It still has outdoor plumbing: she said, ‘You can get used to almost anything, including an outhouse at twenty below, and it’s amazing how much self-control it teaches!’

Jessie has always loved horses, and her father read Walter Farley’s Little Black Pony so often to her they both knew it by heart. She read every pony book she could find until her mother told her to read something else, when she tried dog books, then westerns, before going back to pony books. After a school English lesson when the pupils were asked to write poetry on anything they wanted, Jessie wrote poems about horses, and found that writing was as much fun as reading. She says:

‘I love the act of writing, I’ve learned to love rewriting, and I adore getting that first copy of a new book in the mail. But what I love best is knowing that out there in the world, kids are finding my books and curling up in private with them, having their own experience of them, and making of it whatever they will. The evidence of that is when I go to a library and see a beat-up, much-read copy of one of my books. I’ll probably never meet the kids who read it, but I know it changed them somehow, as the books I’ve read changed me. That’s why I do my best, every single time – because books matter.’ (Jessie Haas – from her website)

Finding the books
Most of the books are very easy to find. Some are now coming back into print.

Links and sources
There is much more biographical information about Jessie on her own site.
Many thanks to Lisa Catz and Susan Bourgeau for their help with the pictures


A Horse Called Barney
Keeping Barney

Beware Series
Beware the Mare
A Blue for Beware
Be Well, Beware
Beware and Stogie

No Foal Yet

Runaway Radish
Runaway Pony

Saige Paints

Bramble and Maggie
Horse Meets Girl
Give and Take
Spooky Season


Keeping Barney

Greenwillow Books, New York, 1982
Scholastic Paperbacks, pb, 1981

Sarah dreams of getting a horse, and then she gets Barney. However, he is a lot more than she bargained for, and she finds she has her work cut out.

Working Trot

Greenwillow Books, New York, 1983

James’ parents want him to do a degree and work in business. He wants to work with horses.

Beware the Mare

Greenwillow Books, New York, 1992, illus Martha Haas
Harper Trophy, pb, 1996
Iuniverse, 2013

Lily and her mother live with her grandparents. One day her grandfather brings home Beware, the mare. Grandfather
is worried about how the mare got her name, and keeps a close eye when she and Lily are together.

A Horse Like Barney

Greenwillow Books, New York, 1993

Sarah has to think out what she really wants as she searches for a horse of her own at last.

Uncle Daney’s Way

Greenwillow Books, New York, 1994
HarperTrophy 1997, pb
Iuniverse, 2013

Cole’s uncle used to be a logger, and he isn’t looking forward to his uncle coming to live with them. When Uncle Daney turns up, he isn’t alone. He has a horse, Nip.


Greenwillow Books, New York, 1994, illus Jos A Smith

Nora and Gramp go off to mow the meadow.

A Blue for Beware

Greenwillow Books, New York, 1995, illus Jos A Smith
Harper Trophy, pb, 1997

Lily shows her mare, Beware, for the first time.

No Foal Yet

Greenwillow Books, New York, 1995, illus Jos A Smith

Nora can hardly wait for Bonnie’s foal to be born.

Be Well, Beware

Greenwillow Books, 1996, illus Ros Smith
Mulberry Paperbacks, 1997


Greenwillow Books, New York, 1996, illus Jos A Smith

Click here for a review of this book

Norah and her grandparents use the horses to do the sugaring on the farm.

Beware and Stogie

Greenwillow Books, New York, 1998, illus by author

During a storm, several horses break out of the farm, including the vicious Stogie. Lily and
Beware set out to find them.


Greenwillow Books, New York, 1999
Scholastic pb, 2001
Thorndike Press
In: Greatest Horse Stories, HarperCollins, 1999

Harriet has to go and live with her stern aunt and uncle after her mother’s death. To get back to school, she needs to break a colt so she can ride there.


Greenwillow Books, New York, 2000, illus Jos A Smith

Gramp tells Nora about harvesting the hay.

Will You, Won’t You?

Greenwillow Books, New York, 2001

Mad Parker is sent off to her grandmother’s house in Vermont for the summer: can Mad find her voice?

Runaway Radish

Greenwillow Books, New York, 2001, illus Margot Apple

Radish the pony knows a lot better than his rider how things should be, and he teaches her.

Appaloosa Zebra:  A  Horselover’s Alphabet

Greenwillow Books, New York, 2002, illus Margot Apple

Click here for a review of this book

An early reader:  an illustrated alphabet of horses.

Birthday Pony

Greenwillow Books, New York, 2004, illus Margot Apple

Popcorn and Jane were born on the same day: they should be made for each other, but have many obstacles to overcome until they understand each other.

Scamper and the Horse Show

Greenwillow Books, New York, 2004, illus Margot Apple

Click here for a review of this book

Molly and Anna have entered their horse Scamper for the costume class in the local show, but can they keep Scamper clean?

Runaway Pony

HarperTrophy, 2004
Scholastic, 2005

Radish has taught Judy, and Nina, but they’ve both grown out of him, so what will happen to him now?

Jigsaw Pony

Greenwillow Books, New York, 2005, illus Ying Hwa-Hu

Twins get a pony; it should be a dream come true, but although the girls look alike, they don’t think alike, and they clash.


Greenwillow Books, New York, 2007

Set in the post civil-war period, a boy witnesses a murder and has to run for his life.

Bramble and Maggie: Horse meets Girl

Candlewick Press, Somerville, Mass, 2012, 51 pp, illus Alison Friend

Bramble the horse gets bored giving riding lessons, but regains her enthusiasm when she goes to live with a girl named Maggie.

Chico’s Challenge

FEIWEL Friends, 2012

Set in Wyoming, `Chico’s Challenge` follows a young buckskin quarter horse who is traded to Sierra, a teen who works her father’s ranch and dreams of becoming a cutting horse champion. Chico seems to have the makings of a great cow horse, but he has never seen a cow in his life! Can he and Sierra, both novices, learn to work together as a team?


American Girl, Middleton, WI, 2013, 124 pp, illus Sarah Davis

Upset that her New Mexico school can only afford music and art teachers in alternate years, fourth-grader Saige works with her grandmother, Mimi, to plan a fundraiser but when Mimi has an accident, Saige relies on new friend Gabi to help.

Saige Paints the Sky

American Girl, Middleton, WI, 2013, 124pp, illus Sarah Davis

Painting in her grandmother’s studio and riding her favourite horse, Georgia, helps fourth-grader Saige cope with missing Mimi and sparks an idea for funding the school art program, but more creativity will be needed to keep Georgia from being sold.

Bramble and Maggie: Give and Take

Candlewick Press, Somerville, MA, 2013, 52 pp. Illus Alison Friend

“Bramble the horse is starting life with her new person, Maggie. When Maggie wants to go for a ride, Bramble is hesitant because she feels that neither she nor Maggie should be boss all the time. There should be some give-and-take. Maggie agrees, and a carrot seals the deal.”

Bramble and Maggie: Spooky Season

Candlewick Press, Somerville MA, 2014, illus Alison Friend

Non fiction

Safe Horse, Safe Rider: a Young Rider’s Guide to Responsible Horsekeeping

Storey Communications, Pownal, Vt, 1994, 152 pp.

Getting Ready to Drive a Horse and Cart

Storey Communications, Pownal, Vt, 1995

Hoofprints: Horse Poems

Greenwillow Books, New York, 2004, 208 pp.

Short stories

Bob Langrish: The Allure of Horses

Willow Creek Press, 2005, 159 pp

Ride back with me

Horse Crazy!

Storey Publishing, North Adams, MA, 2009, 375 pp.

Read a review here

A book full of horse and pony themed activities, information; pictures, and well, just stuff.  An ideal read for the pony mad.