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Jane Badger Books
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Ruby Ferguson

Ruby Ferguson’s Jill books are probably the pony books that have remained in print longer than any other pony series, only going out of print for a brief period in the first years of this century:  so popular are they that they have been picked up by the publishers Fidra, who have issued the first book, with the next two to follow in 2010.

 

Although the first Jill book appeared in 1949, they are still popular today, because Jill herself is such a wonderfully vivid character.  Ruby Ferguson observed children, and particularly horsey children, brilliantly.  Jill sitting in a beautiful dream oblivious to all as she jumps round Olympia in her mind, or sending the coffee pot flying by resting a letter on it; or dreading the visit of her much cleaner, much better behaved Cousin Cecilia, is entirely believable.  

 

The Books

There are nine Jill books.  Each title has its own page on this site, with a synopsis and pictures of as many different versions as I have been able to find or borrow.  There is sometimes some confusion about exactly how many Jill titles there were:  two were re-titled by Knight in the 1980s, Jill Enjoys Her Ponies became Jill and the Runaway, and Pony Jobs for Jill became Challenges for Jill.  The books are still the same underneath the title change.

 

As well as a page for each individual title, there are pages for each different edition.  The pages for the individual titles include a short synopsis, a note on abridgements, and photographs of the different editions for that title.  I’ve added in some Jill articles as well, and there are now pages on some of Jill’s illustrators, as well as pages detailing the full list of abridgements Knight made.

 

You will see that I don’t have photographs of absolutely every edition, so if you can help, please feel free to email me.

 

Acknowledgements:  Many thanks to Birte Scheel, Alison Rushby, Vanessa Robertson, Dawn Harrison, Diane Janes, Kayt, and Claire Noble for providing cover shots I didn’t have; and particular thanks to Hazelhunter and Birte for their sterling work on what’s abridged and where.  Thanks to Tracy Goodson for detective work on the USA printing, and to Matilda Lawless and Roy Clarke for cover shots.

 

Links

I don’t know if this counts as Fanfic or not - but if you  were ever curious about the sheer amount of food Jill ate, this story might be interesting.


There is a section on
Wikipedia about Ruby Ferguson:  it’s not attributed, but I suspect it’s by Liz Thiel, who has also written a paper on Ruby Ferguson:  alas only accessible if you have access to academic libraries.  There is a fascinating general article on pony books on the Collecting Books and Magazines website, which has a section on RF.  There’s a quiz on the Jill books.

 

Jill now has her own Facebook group.

 

The excellent Persephone Books have reprinted Lady Rose and Mrs Memmary and it is still in print.  It is absolutely nothing like the Jill books, and lacks their humour but it is a  poignant read.   Persephone have a short biography of Ruby Ferguson.

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The Jill Series

Jill’s Gymkhana, 1949
A Stable for Jill, 1951

Jill Has Two Ponies, 1952
 

Jill Enjoys Her Ponies, 1954

(Jill & The Runaway)


Jill’s Riding Club, 1956

Rosettes for Jill, 1957

Jill and the Perfect Pony, 1959

 

Pony Jobs for Jill, 1960

(Challenges for Jill)

 

Jill’s Pony Trek, 1962
 









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