Saxon, Nancy

About the author

Nancy Saxon (Nancy Lee Rogers) grew up in the South, and went to Salem College, North Carolina, and Barnard College in New York City. She met her husband, Charles Saxon, when he was training to be a pilot in her home town. They had three children. Charles Saxon (1920–88) was a staff cartoonist for The New Yorker. He grew up in Brooklyn, and discovered at Columbia University that he preferred art to medicine. He had a particularly distinctive style, which suited his wife’s books down to the ground. He illustrated the first two Panky books.

The Panky series featured Frances, who was only ever called Panky. Overweight and unhappy, her life changes when she moves to the country and meets William, a disagreeable and vicious horse. There are three Panky stories.

Finding the books:
Panky and William and Panky in the Saddle are very easy and cheap to find as paperbacks. The hardback first editions are more expensive, but not too hard to find. Panky in Love was, as far as I can tell, only published in hardback, but it’s reasonably easy to find. None of the books were published in the UK.

Links and sources
Wikipedia article on Charles Saxon
Many thanks to Danyele Foster for most of the information in this section, and to Susan Bourgeau for the pictures,


The Panky series
Panky and William
Panky in the Saddle
Panky in Love

Bibliography (horse books only)

Panky and William

Atheneum, New York, 1983, illus Charles Saxon
Apple Paperback, Scholastic Inc, 1983, New York, 94pp

Panky’s family move to the country, but Panky is determined not to dance and wear girdles, as her mother wants. She wants to ride. She meets William, a horse who is vile to everyone apart from Panky, and who is destined for the glue factory Panky thinks she and William are alike: losers on the outside, but inside, stars, and she decides to save him.

Panky in the Saddle

Atheneum, New York, 1984, illus Charles Saxon
Apple Paperback, Scholastic Inc, New York, 1984, 145pp

Panky is desperate to be a great horsewoman, riding William. At first her trainer says she is not good enough, but after many hours of practice, she finally gets the
chance to show how good he is, and to add to her joy, her father agrees to pay for
William’s livery. However, there is then a crisis at home, and helping her family might mean Panky loses her horse and never rides again.  

Panky in Love (by Nancy and Peter Saxon)

Atheneum, New York, 1985

Fox Run starts a polo team to encourage more boys to ride. This means there is less time for Panky and her friends to ride, but Panky does develop a crush on Andy, so perhaps there are some compensations.