About the author
Regina J Woody (1894–1983) was born in Chestnut Hill , Massachusetts. She learned to ride as a child, and rode all over the world: “cross-country in England, on great estates in Hungary, and even in the desert in Africa.” Horses were not her first love though; that was dance. Whilst at Dana Hill School, she told her English teacher, Miss Bentley, that she wanted to be a great dancer and a great writer. “I recommend that you do one thing at a time, Regina” was the reply. “One thing at a time.”
She studied dance in London and Paris, and performed as Nila Devi, a vaudeville headliner. She gave up dance to learn first aid as war work during World War I, but married her first aid instructor, Dr McIver Woody, and after she had a son, gave up dance. She then turned to writing, having sold her first story (about a St Bernard puppy) at the age of nine. Her first book, The Stars Came Down, was published in 1945. The majority of her books were about dance, with her most famous title being Ballet in the Barn. She wrote just one horse book, Starlight, a title which, rarely for its time, allows the heroine to have a black best friend, and portrays the black characters positively. Although Regina Woody wrote only one book about Judy, the character of Almena does appear in a later title, Almena’s Dogs. This book does not, however, carry on Almena’s story, but does away with Judy and Starlight, and repeats the story of Almena’s desire to become a vet.
Finding the book
Rather more expensive than the average horse book, but not impossible. The UK printing of Star the Golden Horse is very hard to find in the UK, and is expensive when it does turn up.
Links and sources
The dustjacket of Starlight
Regina J Woody at Dana Hall School
A few more biographical details in the De Grummond Collection; the papers of Helen Adams Masten
Bibliography (horse books only)
William Morrow, 1946 , cover Lajos Segner
As Star the Golden Horse
Museum Press, London, 1949, 180 pp.
Starlight is the horse Judy longs for. Set in New England, the story sees Judy learning how to ride Starlight, and also how to take care of him. She learns that work is fun, and also gets to do lots of other things like dig for clams, pick berries and dry dishes.