James Aldridge (Harold Edward James Aldridge, 1918 - ) was born in Australia, and now lives in London. He was a journalist and war correspondent before he started writing full time. He wrote the well-received Quayle family sequence, set in a small town on the Murray River, and that, like most of his books, reflects the Australia in which he grew up. His books are set in rural Australia, and explore the tensions which grow in small communities. His Australia is one in which horses are a central part. Stephanie Nettell said of his books: “Horses are a recurrent Aldridge motif. The Broken Saddle is very much the story of his own relationship with one special pony as a boy, with the same fierce feeling for the wild country of Australia as in The True Story of Spit McPhee.”
Probably his best known book is Ride a Wild Pony, which was originally published as A Sporting Proposition. It was made into a film in 1975 with the title Ride a Wild Pony, and Penguin published it under this title in paperback.
A Sporting Proposition / Ride a Wild Pony Michael Joseph, London, 1973, 224 pp.
Little Brown, Boston, 1973
Puffin, Australia, 1975, pb, 173 pp. Republished as Ride a Wild Pony Penguin, Harmondsworth, pb, 1976, 173 pp.
A pony disappears, and when he turns up again, two people claim him. The case goes to court, and in the end the pony is allowed to choose his owner.
The Broken Saddle Julia MacRae, London, 1982, 114 pp. Puffin, pb, 1984
Eric has a lonely life in his small town, and he tries to liven things up by breaking in the pony his father left him before he went away.
The Marvellous Mongolian Macmillan 1974
Little Brown & Company, Boston, 1974.
Children’s Book Club, London, 1976, 136 pp. (left)
Pan Books, 1976
To Baryut, Tachi is a marvellous stallion, roaming Mongolia. Kitty’s favourite is Peep, her Shetland. Tachi is imported to the Welsh nature reserve on which Kitty lives, and Peep is to be his companion. Kitty is terribly worried in case Peep is hurt, and Baryut worries that Tachi cannot be contained in the Welsh hills.