Monday, 15 May 2017

Looking After Pepper

Welcome to Sally's book-a-day-for-2017 blog. If unfamiliar with the blog, scroll down.

Looking After Pepper (Post 135)

Looking After Pepper (1999), is the story of Tara who, since she lives in the country a long way from her friends, thinks a pony would be a fine compensation. She has had a course of riding lessons and read lots of books, and is, on paper at least, a pony expert.

Mum keeps saying "We'll see", but finally Tara's cousin Manira asks if Tara can look after her pony, Pepper, while she's away on holiday.

Mum agrees, and Pepper arrives in a horsebox. Tara is confident, but she soon discovers Pepper is not much like the riding school ponies. She's an escape artist, very greedy, and a drama queen. By the end of two weeks, Tara is wiser and Mum is poorer, having had to fork out for two lots of vet bills. Manira is thrilled to find Pepper intact and her friend suggests maybe Tara could mind HER pony, Rosie Pony, for a while.

The story is packed with things I learned as a pony owner during the 1970s. Mind you, all the dramas we suffered in a decade are pretty-much crammed into two weeks, but then, it is fiction! Pepper steals wheat and gets colic, cuts her leg and gets an infection, treads on Tara's foot, bites her finger while eating a carrot, escapes, tosses Tara off when confronted by pigs, chases a dog and gets spooked by the hose. Through the story the cat from down the road is ever-present, spying on the drama. 

Offered the chance to mind Rosie Pony, Tara goes through the catalogue to see if Rosie is likely to mimic Pepper. Her owner Rachel says no to all and finally volunteers that Rosie is not fond of cats.

Game over.

By the way, I didn't name Cousin Manira. That's an editorial change. In the illustrations, she and Tara are clearly of a different ethnicity than I expected, but for some reason their surnames remain stubbornly Caucasian.

About the Blog 

Sally is Sally Odgers; author, manuscript assessor, editor, anthologist and reader. She runs and Prints Charming Books. (Sally is me, by the way, and I am lots of other things too, but these are the relevant ones for now.)

The goal for 2017 is to write a post a day profiling the background behind one of my books; how it came to be written, what it's about, and any things of note that happened along the way. If you're an author, an aspiring author, a reader or just someone who enjoys windows into worlds, you might find this fun. The books are not in any special order, but will be assigned approximate dates, and pictures, where they exist. If you enjoyed a post, or want to ask about any of my books or my manuscript assessment service, leave me a message.

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