Ursula Moray Williams (1911-2006)

Highly acclaimed children's author. Best known perhaps for her Gobbolino series about a discontented witch's cat who longs to be a normal fireside moggy, but also wrote a few pony stories.

She was born in Hampshire in 1911, one of a pair of twins. She and her sister Barbara were educated at home and encouraged to love animals and books. Riding was a favourite activity, as was writing and illustrating their own stories. When older, both of the sisters enrolled in art college. Ursula did not enjoy it and left after only a year, but Barbara found her passion in art and went on to become the regarded illustrator and wood carver Barbara Arnason. (She also illustrated one of her sister's books.)

Ursula however, encouraged by her uncle (who was the famous publisher Sir Stanley Unwin), preferred to try her hand at writing. Her first book was published at just age 20. She soon became a well-known and popular writer, penning several classic stories, many of which were made into TV series. She also kept her hand in with her art, illustrating many of her own books. Her career spanned 70 years, and her books continue to be reprinted up until the present day.

(Sources: Telegraph & Guardian Obituaries)

Pony Books:

KELPIE THE GIPSIE'S PONY
(HARRAP 1934)
ILLUSTRATED BY BARBARA MORAY WILLIAMS
Reprinted a number of times in hardback
American edition published by Lippincott in 1935
There was also an Australian edition
EDITION PICTURED: 1st edition
SUMMARY: Tammas the Gipsy boy falls in love with and tames a wild moorland pony which he names Kelpie. When the rest of the Gipsies move on he can't bear to leave Kelpie and so settles down on a local farm where he can be with his beloved pony.

THE TWINS AND THEIR PONIES
(HARRAP 1936)
ILLUSTRATED BY THE AUTHOR
Reprinted a number of times in hardback
EDITION PICTURED: Not known
SUMMARY: Story for younger readers. A pair of twins have fun with a stable of imaginary horses...but they soon begin yearning for the real thing!
Based on the real life childhood of Ursula and her own twin!
PONYMAD RATING: 3 HORSESHOES

DUMPLING: THE STORY OF A PONY
(HARRAP 1937)
ILLUSTRATED BY THE AUTHOR
Reprinted a number of times in hardback
Fairly rare
EDITIONS PICTURED: Early hardback reprint
SUMMARY: Story for younger readers. A plump girl and a plump pony seem a recipe for disaster but when an old man comes to help the pair with his 'magic' beans, they are transformed into a winning combination.
PONYMAD VIEW: A very nice little story with engaging characters and a quirky story line. Aimed at younger readers but will entertain all ages.
PONYMAD RATING: 4 HORSESHOES

GOLDEN HORSE WITH A SILVER TAIL
(HAMISH HAMILTON 1957)
ILLUSTRATED BY THE AUTHOR
Reprinted in hardback and in paperback by Collins
EDITION PICTURED: Paperback
SUMMARY: Story for younger readers set in Iceland. Twins Sandy and Foxy and younger sister Stacey have lots of fun on holiday in Iceland with their relations who live there. When a farmer offers their cousin a black colt if the family can catch his valuable golden horse who has escaped and is running loose, they all vow to stop at nothing until they catch the animal….
PONYMAD RATING: 3 HORSESHOES

NO PONIES FOR MISS POBJOY
(CHATTO & WINDUS 1975)
ILLUSTRATED BY PAT MARRIOTT
Reprinted in paperback by Dragon Books
Published in the USA by Nelson
EDITIONS PICTURED: 1st edition, 
SUMMARY: Very funny story about a school of pony mad girls who organise a revolt when their new headmistress wants to do the unthinkable and replace ponies with academic excellence! But is the long-suffering headmistress as bad as the girls portray her?
PONYMAD RATING: 5 HORSESHOES

Collectors Info:
No Ponies for Miss Pobjoy (especially the paperback) is the easiest to find of the lot; Dumpling is the hardest. Kelpie was published in both the USA and Australia and can be found in both these places without too much trouble.

Short stories in other books & collections:

UP IN THE WOODS
in HORSE AND PONY STORIES FOR GIRLS
(HAMLYN 1971)
ILLUSTRATED BY F. D. PHILLIPS
Reprinted a number of times in hardback
SUMMARY: A girl must ride for help after an accident in the woods.
PONYMAD RATING: 2 HORSESHOES

Collectors Info:
Reasonably easy to find in both the UK and USA.