The master of advice on equitation returns in this classic and much-loved cartoon selection. The originator of the classic pony cartoon, Thelwell's work has been beloved of children and equestrians for decades, and its popularity seems set to continue. Since their debut appearance in Punch over 40 years ago, Norman Thelwell's cartoons and drawings have delighted millions of people all over the world. He died in February 2004.
Norman Thelwell was an English cartoonist well-known for his humorous illustrations of ponies and horses. A promising young student from Liverpool College of Art, he soon became a contributor to the satirical magazine Punch in the 1950s, and earned many lasting devotees by illustrating Chicko in the British boys' comic Eagle.
Known to many only as Thelwell, he found his true comic niche with Pony Club girls and ponies refusing fences, a subject for which he became best-known. His cartoons and drawings delighted millions.
For the last quarter of a century of his life he lived in the Test Valley at Timsbury, near Romsey, gradually restoring a farm house and landscaping the grounds which gave rise to his first factual book, A Plank Bridge by a Pool, which detailed the first two lakes he dug there. A third lake was later featured on the BBC’s South Today programme. Written much earlier, but published three years later, A Millstone Round My Neck described his experiences in re-building a Cornish water mill (Addicroft Mill at Liskeard, which he called Penruin), that was sold before the book was published. He always loved old buildings, and in his auto-biography, Wrestling with a Pencil wrote about his joy in the beauty of old cottages.
I don't know how many times I have read this - my Nana has several Thelwell collections at her house, that I have been reading for as long as I can remember, and I've accumulated a few of my own too. I never grow tired of them, and they always make me laugh.
Thelwell had a real knack for capturing ponies in this absurd yet relatable way, and I notice new details every time I revisit one of his books.
Gymkhana (which I've just discovered is a horse event) is shown from a humorous perspective with short poems, amusing anecdotes and hysterical illustrations showing a child with a very expressive horse.
I love revisiting great books from my childhood, and this is one of them. Thelwell's Gymkhana is a fun book that gently pokes fun at children and their ponies while underhandedly passing out sage advice. Funny captions alternate with cute rhymes as Norman Thelwell walks us through life as these young ones know it. The illustrations are always a treat.