My childhood was pretty much normal for the time period. I was given frilly dresses, which I destroyed playing outside. In my first grade picture, I was sporting a very stylish black eye from playing football with the guys. I also had a magnificent doll collection that was in pristine condition, because I never played with any of them. They never held any interest for me, yet they were the gifts I kept getting. It was the time period; little girls should have dolls and frilly dresses. I, on the other hand, was much happier playing with model horses and animals, building them enclosures and making them places to sleep. No small container was safe from being a food dish for some kind of animal.
When I wasn’t playing, I was reading. I pretty much wiped out the children’s section of our small town library. I loved animal stories, (big surprise there), unless they had a sad ending. (To this day, I will not allow Old Yeller in my house.) I would scrounge through my collection of play animals and find likenesses of the ones I had read about. When I found one, I would put it on the shelf to remind me of the book I had read. This habit continued all through my childhood.
One day someone gave me a small tea set with Peter Rabbit on it. It was made of china and very fragile. I thought it was the most wonderful thing in the world. I put it on the shelf with my raggedy animals and that was the beginning of my love affair for literature partner pieces in china. This collection expanded over the years and grew to include a King Arthur Statue, a
Treasure Island plate and
many other wonderful treasures.
I kept this collection for years, even taking it with me when I moved out to start my adult life. It was displayed prominently and safely in every place that I lived. Unfortunately, returning home one day I discovered my house had experienced an unwelcome intruder. The large dog I owned at the time apparently made sure the intruder felt unwelcome and gave him a run for his money. The sad part is that during their ruckus every bit of china that I owned was smashed to dust.
Life moves on and I completely forgot about my china literary collection. I still read everything I could get my hands on, but matching characters to actual figurines was a thing of the past. Then one day I was in an antique shop with a friend of mine, and I saw it. A full size cup and saucer decorated with Peter Rabbit and his friends. It was definitely calling me. The funny thing about it was, it was nothing like the original one that I owned in my youth. That one was a miniature set and this was just a random full size cup and saucer sitting in an antique store.
That random little cup and saucer are now safely in my china cabinet with a Sleepy Hollow Night Light and a 150th Anniversary Alice in Wonderland Tea pot. There is also a small plate that I am sure connects to a book somewhere. It is very obviously not a regular china pattern. I call it my mystery plate. It has a small girl, a bell and a horse on it. I am thinking with all the horse stories I read, I will eventually come across the one it represents.
Pie, the book takes the reader though the last 13 years of Pie’s life and everything he has done since he was rescued from a very bad situation that almost killed him. It takes you though many emotions and leaves you with a good feeling after you have finished it. That was the effect I was looking for when I wrote it. The book is doing pretty well. It has been mentioned in January Magazine and the Wall Street Journal. He has won a 5 star review rating from Readers’ Favorites. I am very proud of Pie, both the book and the horse. It may not win a Pulitzer Prize, because it is told in the tone and vocabulary of a horse. It is a wonderful, enchanting tale of a life that went on to improve many others even though it was a bit bruised itself. Because of this, Pie has been featured on many inspirational book sites. If you like animals or just a good story check out Pie an Old Brown Horse (That Knows What He Is Doing).
Thank you Barbara for allowing me to guest post on your blog! Happy Trails To You and all your readers!
Thank you Kandy Kay it was lovely to read about your childhood, your collections and your new book. I'm glad I could help re your 'mystery plate' I've loved Norman Thelwell illustrations all my life so it was easy to recognise this one.
For more information about Pie, an Old Brown Horse (That Knows What He Is Doing) pay a visit to
For anyone wondering about the pony plate, there is lots of information about Norman Thelwell and his pony books on this page Thelwell.Org