Ponies, ponies, ponies


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Henry Graham Greene (1904-1991) is perhaps a surprising entrant in a listing of pony stories: he’s far better known for his adult stories, and as a writer whose work portrayed Catholicism in a world which is unrelentingly full of sin and evil, it’s tempting to wonder quite how his children’s stories are going to turn out: is their world full of evil? Certainly as far as The Little Horse Bus goes, there’s evil there, in the shape of bank robbers who steal a hansom cab full of cash, and whip the poor horse who draws it unmercifully; and then suggest they leave her to starve to death in the wharf where they stash the cash. Fortunately, for this is a children’s book, evil is confounded. The characterisation is shared between Mr Potter, Tim the errand boy, pony Brandy and the horse bus itself: all personifications of good, thankfully.

Finding the book: very good first editions are expensive. The book was reprinted, and is easy to find as a reprint.

Sources and links:

Graham Greene on Wikipedia

Graham Greene’s other picture books

Graham Greene

The Little Horse Bus

Max Parrish, London, 1952, 35 pp, illus Dorothy Craigie

Bodley Head, London, 1974, 46 pp, illus Edward Ardizzone

Doubleday, New York, 1974, 47 pp, illus Edward Ardizzone

Viking, London, 1994, 47 pp, illus Edward Ardizzone

Mr Potter the grocer has three assistants, an errand boy
called Tim, and a pony called Brandy, which he keeps to
cheer children up. Then competition appears in the shape
of the Hygienic Emporium Company Limited. They use a
splendid chestnut mare (not friendly) called Beauty, and a
hansom cab, to deliver goods. Customers prefer Beauty,
but the children don’t. Beauty delivers the wads of cash the
Emporium earns to the Bank, but one day she and her
hansom cab, and the cash are stolen. But all is not lost: the
little horse bus, and Brandy who pulls it, have seen what

Bibliography - pony books only