Ponies, ponies, ponies
Jeri Kroll’s Blue series is aimed at older teenagers. Felice, the series’ heroine, is living in Australia, having moved there from New York with her parents. She learns to ride, and becomes hooked on eventing. The series covers standard teenage fare like relationships, as well as less widely tackled subjects, like mental illness and death. I have read Riding the Blues, and found it gripping: it’s a good portrayal of the stresses and strains of being in your last year at school. Jeri Kroll has also written a pony book aimed at younger readers: Fit for a Prince.
Like her heroine Felice, Jeri Kroll was born and brought up in New York, and moved to Australia. Unlike Felice, she first studied English at Columbia University, Warwick University and Smith College. Jeri Kroll is now Program Coordinator of Creative Writing at Flinders University, and has written 22 books for adults and children. She is now, she says, in her second teenagerhood, and has been involved in the Fleurieu Horse and Pony Club for the last 17 years. Despite being “incredibly nervous” she has five horses, and still does one day events.
Thanks to Jill Albrecht for pointing me in the right direction in this section, and many thanks to Jeri Kroll for giving me permission to use the photographs from her website.
Finding the books: Better than Blue and Beyond Blue will probably have to be bought from Australia, and they are not hugely common there secondhand. Riding the Blues is the easiest of the three to find. I think all the books can still be bought direct from the author. Fit for a Prince is still in print.
The Blues Series
Better than Blue
Riding the Blues
Better Than Blue
Addison Wesley Longman, Melbourne, 1997
Felice moves from New York to Australia: she’s instantly popular at school, but knows she
won’t be once everyone finds out her secret. What she needs to do is find something she’s
Addison Wesley Longman, Melbourne, 1998
Felice has a new life in Australia, but still misses her American best friend, Nancy. Nancy
comes to stay, and Felice is desperate to introduce her to her horse, Sienna, and her
boyfriend Jared. However, Nancy and Felice have both changed since they last met.
Riding the Blues
Thomas C Lothian, Melbourne, 2001, 256 pp. Cover photo Peter Gower.
The poem First Love appears in Cadence of Hooves: A Celebration of Horses (www.yarrowaymountainpress.com)
Fit for a Prince
Omnibus, Solo, 2001, illus Don Hatcher
Scholastic, 2009 (also available on CD)
Prince David the Daring loves all his ponies, except for Freddie, who is too plain for a prince to ride.