I have so many books by the Pullein-Thompson sisters. And yet, I hadn’t yet touched on the Phantom Horse series by Christine Pullein-Thompson. Named Phantom Horse, the first book in the series explains how Angus and Jean come to live in America with their parents. English born and bred, the two horse fans are surprised by the news of them moving to America because of their father’s work.
Young Jean is not thrilled with the news. She hates the idea of leaving her friends. There is also their trusty ponies that will be left behind. Although their ponies are to be leased out to other people rather than sold, Jean isn’t happy.
Once they’ve arrived in Virginia Jean and Angus are quickly introduced to some nearby neighbours. Their father’s friend Charlie has three children older than Jean and Angus. Phil, Pete and Wendy are super friendly and bring along some horses for the brother and sister pair to ride. They also introduce the news of a beautiful palomino colt that is running wild on the local mountains.
Suddenly Jean and Angus dream of capturing the colt for themselves. And so starts an adventure to secure a beautiful young horse whilst learning the many differences between English terms in England and English terms in America.
The story touches on many horse events including jumping and hunting, going on hacks in the local wilderness and even schooling in paddocks. Jean aptly describes different terms as she learns them from her American friends. And although the beautiful palomino seems elusive, the story ends on a note that sets it up well for future adventures of the British brother and sister in America.
Although the book was an interesting and enjoyable read, the 1985 print edition had many grammatical errors which I found distracting. Otherwise a good read.
Author – Christine Pullein-Thompson
Fiction – middle grade
In my library – indeed it is.