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Joseph Chipperfield

Joseph Chipperfield was born in Cornwall on 20 April 1912  and died on 3 Jan 1976.  He worked as an editor for the Authors’ Literary Service from 1930-1934, and as an editor and scriptwriter for documentary films from 1934-1940.  The vast majority of his books were about animals:  principally dogs and horses, though eagles and stags feature too.   

His subjects were usually wild: his books are a world away from gymkhanas and hacking.  The world of men is seen as a threat to the animals:  in Banner, in which men are determined to catch the legendary horse - a fate which most of Chipperfield’s horses share - the reader is left in no doubt “that the frontiers of the west are pushing in and destroying the old ways of life,” a preoccupation Chipperfield shared with Monica Edwards and her Punchbowl Farm books: set on an altogether more domestic scale but again portraying the tension between old ways and the need to make a living.

Joseph Chipperfield’s books are still popular, though none alas seem to be in print now. Cecilia Gordon says that you will not find “Chipperfield’s books learnedly analysed” (and I haven’t yet been able to find anything but that isn’t to say it doesn’t exist) “but neither will you find them sitting unread on library shelves.”

Finding the books:  Dark Fury and Ghost Horse  are very easy and cheap to find as paperbacks:  as hardbacks with dustjackets they are harder.  Banner is easy to find in its CBC version; and not impossible to find as the original hardback.  Checoba is reasonably easy to find. Silver Star is very difficult to find indeed.  

Sources and Links:

Joseph Chipperfield: Cecilia Gordon, in 20th Century Children’s Writers, St James Press 1989, ed Tracey Chevalier. 3rd edn.

Dark Fury, Stallion of Lost River Valley
Hutchinson, 1956, illus C Clifford Ambler

Roy Publishers, New York
Armada, pb, 1965, cover Peter Archer
Beaver, pb, 1977, cover Harry Bishop

“Dark Fury, last of the great wild stallions, escapes from the
humiliating life as a circus performer and heads across uncharted
desert towards his own country.  Many men want him, Indians as

well as white trappers, who think Dark Fury will lead them to untold


Ghost Horse, Stallion of the Oregon Trail
Hutchinson, 1959, illus C Clifford Ambler
Armada, pb, 1963, cover Peter Archer
Beaver, pb, 1976

“Pahute was the son of Blue Steel, the great wild stallion who became a legend in the

West - the Ghost Horse  who thundered across the mesa with his herd, untameable, too

clever to be captured by man.  Pahute in turn became a mighty horse, fighting his

enemies and protecting the mares that came to him.  Men glimpsed him and swore he

was the original Ghost Horse; they tried to capture him, but failed until Jim Blaine took the

trail. But Jim Blaine had an advantage over all the other men who sought Pahute - he

loved this wonderful wild stallion.”

Banner, the Pacing White Stallion
Hutchinson, 1972, illus Robert Hales

Children’s Book Club, 1972

Banner and his herd have been driven up into the Colorado Rockies away from men and their new railroads.

This does not protect him from men, and he is obsessively hunted by those determined to catch a legend.  

Checoba, Stallion of the Commanche
Hutchinson, 1964, illus C Clifford Ambler

Silver Star
Hutchinson, 1953, illus C Clifford Ambler
Silver Star, Stallion of the Echoing Mountain

Roy Publishers, New York, 1995

Bibliography - pony books only