Author Topic: Why did you like the Follyfoot books?  (Read 2026 times)

Offline Jill

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Why did you like the Follyfoot books?
« on: June 07, 2012, 12:46:50 PM »
I'm writing a book on British pony books, and there's a section on Monica Dickens and her Follyfoot and World's End books. I'd love to know why you loved the books - I know why I did, but I'd love the book not to be me, me, me!

Offline Jane

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Re: Why did you like the Follyfoot books?
« Reply #1 on: June 07, 2012, 02:13:59 PM »
I first read Cobbler’s Dream as a teenager, and like others here on the forum found it a bit confusing as it wasn’t very much like the TV series I watched avidly in the 70s. In the book Steve was called Paul, Dora wasn’t the pretty TV Dora but a more horsey, down-to-earth girl, Ron hardly appears at all, the Colonel was called the Captain and Slugger had a wrestling wife called Tiny. I often wonder who would have played that character had she been included in the show!
Certainly it is no children’s book and Monica doesn’t skim over the cruelty inflicted on Cobbler’s Dream by spoilt brat Chrissie, or any of the mistreated horses that have happily found their way to the rescue farm to live out their days in peace and tranquillity. The later Follyfoot books were written to coincide with the TV series and although I don’t think they are quite as hard hitting as Cobbler’s Dream, they are still excellent reads.

I enjoyed reading the World’s End series for the first time as an adult. I should imagine it must be every child’s dream, to live in a big house with your brothers and sisters while your parents sail around the world, no one to tell you to tidy your bedroom or do the washing up. The reality, of course, is never that simple but the Fielding children muddle along together, collecting more and more stray animals and they really do miss their parents in the end as inevitable disasters strike!

Offline Jill

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Re: Why did you like the Follyfoot books?
« Reply #2 on: June 08, 2012, 11:00:30 AM »
Yes, I wonder what happened to Tiny! I liked her.

It was the wish fulfilment thing that did it with me with The World's End series. All that space and freedom, and however hard things got, somehow it all worked out in the end.

Offline Sabrina

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Re: Why did you like the Follyfoot books?
« Reply #3 on: June 09, 2012, 07:42:59 AM »
I found the Follyfoot books initially less enjoyable than the tv series as a child for the same reasons as Suzy - Dora was chunky and not pretty, Steve wasn't Steve but Paul and Callie played a much bigger part in the books, when to my mind Dora should have been the lead character and Callie a minor part. But... Monica Dickens' writing style worked its magic on me. She was a very engaging writer, using the second person to draw the readers in and make them feel part of the book. In her Follyfoot series it's a crueller world than the tv show, particularly with Cobbler's Dream, which is certainly adult/young adult rather than children's' fiction. The subsequent books in the series tamed down the violence and cruelty somewhat, but the writing style was the same - engaging, with beautiful bursts of humour, and best of all the books don't treat the readers as children in terms of vocabulary or character development. I was eleven when I first read the books but had a much older reading age, and compared to many of the kiddie books in the school library Follyfoot was a revelation (other standouts were K M Peyton's books including the Flambards series).

The younger characters - Dora, Paul/Steve, Ron - were older teens/young adults; although Ron's age isn't mentioned it's assumed he's under 21. Callie was about thirteen in the books. They all had a freedom and independence I envied, and this is true as well of the Fielding family in the World's End series.

Both the Follyfoot and World's End series use financial struggle in the plot lines. The protagonists are poorly off, the Captain/Colonel struggling to keep Follyfoot going, the Fieldings fighting to keep World's End to themselves while their parents are away, and not have their awful uncle and aunt take over. In both series the least likeable people are rich; in fact the wealthier ones behave appallingly towards their animals! I used to cheer when the 'bad guys' got their comeuppance.

I still love re-reading the Follyfoot and World's End series now, almost forty years later. It's like catching up with old friends.
Cheers,
Sabrina
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Offline Anne

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Re: Why did you like the Follyfoot books?
« Reply #4 on: June 09, 2012, 07:56:36 AM »
I still love re-reading the Follyfoot and World's End series now, almost forty years later. It's like catching up with old friends.
Exactly!

Offline Jane

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Re: Why did you like the Follyfoot books?
« Reply #5 on: June 16, 2012, 11:42:55 AM »
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I still love re-reading the Follyfoot and World's End series now, almost forty years later. It's like catching up with old friends.


Ditto! 8)

Offline Jill

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Re: Why did you like the Follyfoot books?
« Reply #6 on: June 28, 2012, 12:32:53 PM »
I like the way that you spot new things in them every time you read them. One thing I hadn't spotted was that the Fielding parents were actually around in World's End in Winter, whereas they're pretty much absent in the other books. If you'd have asked me before my last re-read, I would have said they weren't there in any of the books. And I have read World's End in Winter a lot. Maybe I'd edited them out as I preferred my World's End world without them.

Offline Jane

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Re: Why did you like the Follyfoot books?
« Reply #7 on: June 28, 2012, 01:37:07 PM »
They did suddenly become "proper"parents again for a while in the Winter book didn't they. That's my favourite one of the four, mainly because the children help disabled Priscilla back on a horse again, not because their parents were in it, that's for sure! I particularily hated the father when he hits Charlie the dog in the face just because he licks him  :o

Offline Sabrina

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Re: Why did you like the Follyfoot books?
« Reply #8 on: June 28, 2012, 11:24:42 PM »
Priscilla's family were monsters.  >:(
Cheers,
Sabrina
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Offline Anne

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Re: Why did you like the Follyfoot books?
« Reply #9 on: June 28, 2012, 11:54:13 PM »
Another example how blunt she was when writing about the darker side of life. i suppose that's one thing that has kept her books so relevant even now after so many years.

It's a shame you can't find them here in the local libraries in children's book shelves anymore. New editions haven't been printed for decades, the old books stay in the storage rooms i was told, if found anymore at all.

Offline Jane

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Re: Why did you like the Follyfoot books?
« Reply #10 on: June 29, 2012, 05:33:46 AM »
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It's a shame you can't find them here in the local libraries in children's book shelves anymore. New editions haven't been printed for decades, the old books stay in the storage rooms i was told, if found anymore at all.


It would be brilliant if they were reprinted. But you can get them in ebook format now which is something at least.  :) I prefer books myself.

Offline Anne

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Re: Why did you like the Follyfoot books?
« Reply #11 on: June 29, 2012, 06:18:19 AM »
Good to have both formats available, i prefer the books too tho.

Offline Sabrina

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Re: Why did you like the Follyfoot books?
« Reply #12 on: July 01, 2012, 01:13:16 AM »
There's something lovely about holding a book - the paper, physically turning a page. I prefer books too but have started to buy ebooks as we have run out of shelf space and now have piles on the floor  :o
Cheers,
Sabrina
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Offline Jane

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Re: Why did you like the Follyfoot books?
« Reply #13 on: July 01, 2012, 05:22:09 AM »
There's something lovely about holding a book - the paper, physically turning a page. I prefer books too but have started to buy ebooks as we have run out of shelf space and now have piles on the floor  :o.

I'm getting short of space too now  >48< I just love my books though!