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Mary Calhoun

Mary Calhoun published her first children’s book, Making the Mississippi Shout, in 1957. She has written over fifty children’s books, of which The Horse Comes First is a horse book. Old Man’s Whickutt’s Donkey is a re-working of a fable by Fontaine, and Cowboy Cal and the Outlaw is an early reader.


Finding the books: all are reasonably easy to find in the USA, though Donkey is on the expensive side. None were printed in the UK.


Links and sources

Terri A. Wear: Horse Stories, an Annotated Bibliography, Scarecrow Press, 1987

A little biographical information

Mary Calhoun as the Instant Grandma

Many thanks to Lisa Catz for the photographs.


The Horse Comes First

Atheneum, New York, 1974, 188 pp, illus John Gretzer



Randy’s grandfather and aunt have harness racing horses, and Randy goes to spend the
summer with them. There she finds that the horses really do come first.

Bibliography - horse books only

Old Man Whickutt’s Donkey

Parent’s Magazine Press, New York, 1975, 41 pp, illus. Tomie de Paola



A retelling of La Fontaine’s fable, in which a man, a boy and a donkey are on their way to the miller
with a sack of corn. No matter who walks and who rides, they are criticized.

Cowboy Cal and the Outlaw

William Morrow & Company, 1961, 48pp, illus Frank Nicholas



An early reader.  Cal is a cowboy, whose pride and joy is his new saddle. Just when the saddle
is broken in and the way he likes it, he is asked to break an outlaw horse. Unfortunately the horse
takes off, complete with the precious saddle but without Cal. Cal pursues the horse.