Book name: Ponies and Holidays
Author: Mary Gervaise
Genre: Vintage children’s book, pony book
Publication Date: 1974
Star Rating: 5/5
In the first book in the Georgia Kane series, Georgia is sent to boarding school. Ponies and Holidays is the sequel.
During the holidays, Susan and Patience come to stay with Georgia. They are delighted to spend time together outside school.
Patience is particularly moved by the experience of living in a family home as she has always lived with her guardian.
A cloud is thrown over the celebrations when Georgia’s cat King Toby goes missing. Georgia herself is afraid she will never see him again.
He is reported to have been carried away by a child, and everyone swings into action to find him.
Meanwhile, Mr Kane is called away to London on business, and Mrs Kane has to care for an elderly family member away from home.
The relative called in to stay with the children turns out to be unavailable, but Peter (Georgia’s older brother) takes charge.
Rough and Tough, Georgia’s other brothers, arrange a search for King Toby but he is nowhere to be found.
A report of the gipsies who may have taken Toby places them at another local village where a gymkhana and fair is about to be held.
By a variety of means the Kanes, Susan and Patience arrive at the gymkhana and fair to search for Toby.
Georgia’s kind heart means that she buys another cat from the gipsies she meets when she asks them about whether they have seen King Toby.
Patience begins to act very strangely. Sometimes she knows her friends, at other times she treats them like strangers.
And for some reasons Georgia cannot understand everyone comments on Patience’s hairstyle. This confuses her because nothing has changed.
Georgia herself thinks that it almost feels as if there are two Patiences running around the gymkhana, particularly when she sees Patience competing in the showjumping.
The trial of getting to the fair is nothing compared to the adventure of getting home again, and King Toby must still be found.
I loved Ponies and Holidays because this is the book in which the mystery of Patience’s family is solved. It was such a feel-good narrative about one of my favourite characters in pony books.
It was also lovely to see the three girls outside school and to see more of Gerry, Rough, Tough and Peter.
Like many books of its time, Ponies and Holidays features a narrative in which gipsies are accused of stealing. However, the book fully develops the characters of the gypsy family, who Georgia and the others encounter on many occasions.
There is so much more to Meena and her family than the fact that they are accused to taking King Toby, and there is actually an entirely different explanation for his disappearance. For the first time I can remember, there was a narrative in which members of the travelling community appeared as characters in their own right in a children’s book.
And Georgia’s soft heart towards animals leads her to acquire almost a dozen cats, which gave some light-hearted relief to the worries about King Toby.
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