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‘We need the literature of other countries to expand our
horizons and stimulate our ideas. Without it, we are not only
diminished, we are starved’
(The Times, Magnus Linklater 29/06/05)
A Pony in the Luggage
by Gunnel Linde
Age Range: 9-11
Aunt Tina is taking siblings Anna and Nicholas on a short break to Copenhagen by train from their home in Sweden. When they arrive one of the first thing they do is pay a visit to the local zoo. The children discover that the zoo is organising a lottery with a variety of prizes including a ‘real’ pony. Unknown to Aunt Tina, the children purchase two tickets because they are desperate to win the small pony.
Aunt Tina has planned a full itinerary for the day: visiting the Danish royal palace, the garden with the statue of Hans Christian Andersen and taking the children out for a nice meal, but the youngsters can’t concentrate on anything else apart from the lottery draw and insist on going back to the zoo to discover the results.
When they arrive, a man is announcing all the winning prizes – “and now it is time for the pony Daniel Pompiliam of Klampenborg which goes to ticket number 96688”
Anna and Nicholas can’t believe their luck. They have won the pony! Now the real adventure begins. How are they going to get the pony into the hotel without anyone noticing, particularly Aunt Tina, and more importantly, get the pony home on the train to Stockholm when their holiday comes to an end? And what will Anna and Nicholas’ parents say when they arrive home with a pony in tow?
This gentle and endearing book will be remembered by many affectionately from their childhood. Swedish author Gunnel Linde (1924-2014) created a memorable story with an easy narrative style that is full of humour – the efforts to keep the pony hidden are hilarious – such as hiding the pony in the wardrobe in the hotel or stuffing it into an oblivious Aunt Tina’s trunk to get on the train.
Under the superb editorial direction of the highly knowledgeable Kaye Webb, A Pony in the Luggage is another example of the excellent and eclectic type of stories that were made available to children in these series.
Linde wrote over forty children’s books winning the Astrid Lindgren Award in 1978. Some other of her children’s novels that have been translated in English are: White Stone (J. M. Dent, 1968); The Invisible League and the Royal Ghost (J. M. Dent, 1970); Bicycles don’t Grow on Trees (Orion Children’s Books, 1984).
Artist and children’s book illustrator Richard Kennedy’s black and white line drawings are humorous and his characters are full of movement and life.