Ponies, ponies, ponies
Patrick Lawson (Lois Eby)
Patrick Lawson (the pseudonym of Lois Eby) wrote five horse books. The two Star Crossed Stallion books feature Arabians, but although the book’s initial plot (boy gets a wild Arabian stallion in a completely implausible way) is similar to Walter Farley’s The Black Stallion, the pay off is different. The Arabian here is trained for dressage, not racing. The two Patty Lynn books are very different, and are, to quote Susan Bourgeau, who sent me the information on this author, “as much Valentines to the National Parks in the US as anything else....you definitely come away from them just dying to visit Yosemite and the Grand Canyon!”
The last book, More Than Courage is a collection of short stories about both horses and dogs. It was only published by Whitman, in their their long running laminated picture cover format, which is, to quote Susan again, “ a pity, because the binding and paper is simply the worst that I have ever seen... even if you find a copy that is in perfect condition, it's set to self destruct...the laminate peels and flakes off, the bindings fall apart (literally, the spines tend to fall off) and the paper is a step away from actually being powder.”
The biographical information below is on the dustjackets of most editions, and as Lois Eby is quoted directly in large part, it seems simpler to reproduce the text as a whole:
"Patrick Lawson is the pen name of Lois Eby, whose love of horses started when she was growing up on a California orange ranch. Her playmates, descendants of Spanish grandees, rode to school on the finest of horses, including Arabians, and "were, and are, generous and charming people. I can remember them sitting patiently on their doorsteps, or mine, while I rode their horses. It was the stuff of magic to be up on one of their prancing palominos, which they rode each year in the Rose Parade in Pasadena. But when we were twelve, Josephine Pillario's Arabian horse convinced me that Arabians are the most romantic, beautiful horses in the world. All Arabian horse owners are so versed in facts about their animals that it is impossible to be around them without being infected with a measure of wonder and enthusiasm for this fascinating breed of horses."
Lois Eby's childhood interest in horses was carried on in her work on the Lone Ranger, amongst other movies for juveniles. It also led to the writing of Star-
Lois Eby says that her second enthusiasm, love of nature, began when she was a child, "spending most of my summer vacations in one or the other of the National Parks-
Finding the books: none were published in the UK, but all are easy to find in the US, and are pretty reasonably priced.
Links and sources
Dustjackets of the Dodd Mead editions
Many thanks to Susan Bourgeau for providing all the information and photographs.
Dodd, Mead and Company, New York, 1954, cover art Algot Stenbery
An Arabian stallion who is supposedly unlucky arrives at a local stud.
Patty Lynn: Daughter of the Rangers
Dodd, Mead and Company, New York, 1959
illustrated with black and white photos of Yosemite National Park
Patty Lynn at the Grand Canyon
Dodd, Mead and Company, New York, 1960
illustrated with black and white photos of Grand Canyon National Park
Dodd, Mead and Company, New York, 1967, illus Algot Stenbery
Ajaz the Arabian stallion needs to prove himself so that people will send their mares to him, but he
confounds all his trainers until he and Roger are sent to learn dressage.
More Than Courage
Whitman Publishing Company, Wisconsin, 1960, illus Earl Sherwan
“Real life stories of horses and dogs and people who loved them.”