Alison Lester

One of Australia's most loved modern authors and illustrators. Born in 1952 in Victoria, Australia. She grew up on a farm and has loved horses since an early age. She trained as an art teacher, but soon found she enjoyed illustrating books more than teaching. At first she illustrated other authors' books, but then tried her hand at illustrating her own stories - which was an immediate success. She has written and illustrated many children's books since then, including a number of pony stories. The Bonnie and Sam series is for younger readers, her pony novels are for slightly older children.

Alison still loves horses and has a horse of her own called Woollyfoot.

Alison Lester has her own website where you can find out lots more about her and her books.

Bonnie and Sam Series (aka Horse Crazy Series):
A lively series for younger readers about two friends and their many brumby horse friends. A good introduction to the world of the Australian brumbies for readers too young to tackle Elyne Mitchell's books.

There is a charming website devoted to this series with lots of info, samples of the books to read and character guides to all the horses and ponies featured in the series (many of these are based on real life horses Alison has known).

The series was reprinted under a different series heading with different titles (why oh why do publishers keep doing this?!) by Chronicle Books in 2009.

1) THE SHADOW BRUMBY
aka THE SILVER HORSE SWITCH
(ALLEN & UNWIN  PB (AUSTRALIA) 2007)
ILLUSTRATED BY ROLAND HARVEY
Reprinted in America by Chronicle Books in 2009 with new title.
SUMMARY: Sometimes in the mountains Bonnnie and Sam catch a glimpse of the wild brumbies. What they don't know is that one night, while they are still dreaming, a brumby will come to them

2) THE CIRCUS PONY
(ALLEN & UNWIN  PB (AUSTRALIA) 2007)
ILLUSTRATED BY ROLAND HARVEY
Reprinted in America by Chronicle Books in 2009.
SUMMARY: When Bonnie and Sam find a fabulous picture of a girl balancing on a horse, they decide to enter the local Talent Night with some trick riding of their own. They think about all the horses and ponies in Currawong Creek, and decide that Tricky and Bonnie will make the perfect team. Then Michael drops a bombshell: animals are not allowed in the talent night. It seems like the end to the girls' dream. But then the circus comes to town ...

3) RACING THE TIDE
aka THE SEA RESCUE
(ALLEN & UNWIN  PB (AUSTRALIA) 2008)
ILLUSTRATED BY ROLAND HARVEY
Reprinted in America by Chronicle Books in 2009 with new title.
SUMMARY: Out sheep-mustering on horseback, Bonnie and Sam decide to explore the beach where they find an upturned boat and three men clinging to a rock. Can they get help in time?

4) SAVING MR. PINTO
aka THE ROYAL SHOW
(ALLEN & UNWIN  PB (AUSTRALIA) 2008)
ILLUSTRATED BY ROLAND HARVEY
Reprinted in America by Chronicle Books in 2009 with new title.
SUMMARY: The excitement of preparing for the Royal Show is overshadowed when the girls find a starving and neglected pony at the showgrounds and determine to rescue him.

Other editions:

HORSE CRAZY: THE COMPLETE ADVENTURES OF BONNIE AND SAM
(ALLEN & UNWIN  PB 2009)
ILLUSTRATED BY ROLAND HARVEY
SUMMARY: Collected omnibus edition of all 4 books in the series.

Collectors Info:
All paperback editions. The books are fairly easy to find in Australia, the UK and the USA. As they were all - except for The Circus Horse - reprinted under different titles please check the above alternative titles to avoid buying duplicates!

Pony Books:

THE QUICK-SAND PONY
(ALLEN & UNWIN PB [AUSTRALIA] 1997)
Reprinted in paperback by original publishers in 1999.
Published in America in hardback by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt in 1998.
In print.
SUMMARY: Set in the Australian Bush. Biddy is forced to leave behind pony Bella when she is trapped in quick-sand. She goes back to search for her and finds herself solving an old mystery.

THE SNOW PONY
(ALLEN & UNWIN [AUSTRALIA] 2001)
Published in America in hardback by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt in 2003 and also later in paperback.
In print.
SUMMARY: Dusty falls in love with a beautiful wild brumby she calls the Snow Pony and whom only she can ride. Her friendship with the horse is a consolation as life on the family's drought-stricken farm becomes increasingly hard.

RUNNING WITH THE HORSES
(VIKING/PENGUIN [AUSTRALIA] 2009)
ILLUSTRATED BY THE AUTHOR
Reprinted by North South Books in the USA in 2011.
In print.
SUMMARY: Picture book for younger readers. A historical story which is set in Austria. The idyllic life of Nina and her grandfather, who live with the famous performing Lippizaner horses of the Royal Academy of Dancing Horses, is threatened when war breaks out. The pair must face a terrifying journey across the Alps, smuggling the horses to safety.

NONI THE PONY
(VIKING/PENGUIN [AUSTRALIA] 2010)
ILLUSTRATED BY THE AUTHOR?
Reprinted by Allen & Unwin, possibly in the UK as well as Australia.
In print.
SUMMARY: Picture book for younger children about Noni, the friendly little pony who lives in a farm by the bay. By day she has lots of fun with her friends Jac the dog and Coco the Cat. But when she is scared at night, her friends have to help her overcome her fears.

Collectors Info:
All these books are still in print in the USA (and probably in Australia) and a couple are also in print in the UK. They can also been found easily second hand both in the USA and the UK.