Timeslip Tuesday -- Black Hunting Whip

Timeslip Tuesday took a break while I was reading for the Cybils, but it is back now! With a caveat--the book I'm posting about today is much less timeslipy than I remembered it as being before I picked it up to re-read yesterday. In fact, no timeslipping happens until page 155 of a 157 page book. So if you want to stop reading in disgust right now, go ahead....

Black Hunting Whip, by Monica Edwards, begins when the mother of a family of four children comes home to announce that she has bought a farm at action-- Punchbowl Farm, old and decrepit, far out in the countryside with no mod. cons. But it does come with a mystery. Dion, the oldest boy, exploring the foundation of the old wing of the house that burned long ago, finds a way into its cellar. And there he finds the diary of a boy who lived there long ago, who was driven from the farm before achieving his dream of riding his pony to victory in the local show, carrying the black hunting whip that his dead father had cherished.

Life at the farm for the modern children, two girls and two boys, is busy enough, what with exploring the countryside, getting new ponies and other animals, and fixing up the house. But the search for the hunting whip, buried by the long-ago boy before he left home, is always at the forefront of their minds. At last Dion finds it, and sets his mind on riding with it to achieve the victory that the dead boy never saw. It is a somewhat forlorn hope, as his pony-nothing like the fiery black pony from the past- is too small, and he as almost no chance of even placing.

And then, at the horse show, two pages before the book ends, past and present meet...and there's so little of it I don't want to describe it, lest I give it all away (although the astute reader can probably guess what happens).

So alright, it isn't much of a time slip. But it's a great book for people who love ponies, and old houses, and winter in the English countryside, with a bit of mystery thrown in...and it is the start* of a great series (there are lots more books about the family at Punchbowl Farm), by a classic author of British children's books. I'd also recommend it to fans of books like Elizabeth Enright's Four Story Mistake, where the small doings of family life in a new old house delight the reader (only with more ponies).

*I use "start" somewhat loosely, because there is another book, No Mistaking Corker, that comes first. But it isn't as good, and it isn't about the farm, so I shan't count it.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Free Blog Counter

Button styles