Zilpha Keatley Snyder

Award winning and prolific American author of books for children and young adults. As a child she was surrounded by animals and books and both were passions of hers, along with a strong interest in a fantasy-type world of games. An interest in horses was passed on from her father who worked as a ranch hand and cowboy. All these elements were to be combined in her books. Before becoming a writer, she worked as a teacher but at the same time began to write her first novel, Season of Ponies. Many more were to follow, three winning the Newbery Honor prize. Her books cover a wide range of genres such as fantasy, mystery and historical.

Apart from Season of Ponies, Ms. Snyder wrote another two pony stories forming a short series: these were based on her father's childhood, when he was abandoned by his father and cruelly treated by a number of foster parents who used him as cheap labour on their ranches, but through the experience learned to love horses.

The author has her own website where there is an extremely detailed autobiographical section.

Gib Series:

1) GIB RIDES HOME
(DELACORTE [USA] 1998)
Reprinted in paperback by Yearling in 1999.
Reprinted as a large print hardback by Thorndike in 2002, this edition still in print.
SUMMARY: Historical story set around the turn of the century. Ten year old Orphan Gib is sent from the orphanage to work on Mr. Thornton's ranch. There he learns about horses but also finds himself piecing together the truth about his lost childhood when he recognises one of the ranch hands. Slowly he begins to become acclimatized to his new life, but when he is blamed for their daughter's riding accident, he is sent back to the orphanage.

1) GIB AND THEY GREY GHOST
(DELACORTE [USA] 2000)
Reprinted in paperback by Yearling in 2001.
Reprinted as a large print hardback by Thorndike in 2003.
Still in print.
SUMMARY: Gib is back at the Thornton ranch once more. When an abused grey horse appears he takes care of it, feeling a kindred spirit. Will he ever be accepted as a member of the family rather than just a ranch-hand?

Collector's Info:
Very easy to find in the USA, where they are also still in print. At the time of writing both books are available in the UK from Amazon; they may be hard to find in other outlets.

Other Pony Books:

SEASON OF PONIES
(ATHENEUM [USA] 1964)
ILLUSTRATED BY ALTON RAIBLE
Reprinted in hardback by original publisher a few times in the 1960s.
Reprinted in paperback by Aladdin in the 1960s.
Later reprinted in paperback by Yearling in 1988.
There was also a German edition published,
SUMMARY: Fantasy pony story. When her father has to leave her, Pamela finds living with two old aunts boring and lonely. She toys with a necklace her father gave her before he left: is it really magical like he suggested? Then a strange boy appears out of the mist with a flute and a herd of weirdly beautiful ponies and her life suddenly becomes filled with wonder and excitement.

Collector's Info:
Easy to find in the USA, quite hard in the UK however.