Kate Seredy (1899-1975)

Award-winning American author and illustrator. Hungarian by birth, she was born in Budapest, Hungary in 1899. In 1922 she settled in the USA.  She studied art and became a freelance illustrator, designer and artist, illustrating many children's novels and textbooks (including the Doris Gates pony novel Little Vic). She began writing when an editor suggested she write a book based on her childhood in Hungary. Although she had only recently learnt the English language, her manuscript was immediately accepted and became the book The Good Master. Soon more stories were to follow, including a sequel. Many of the author's books explored the effect of being an alien in a unfamiliar society, such as the character of Michael in Chestry Oak, and also the effect of war upon children.

Both Seredy's autobiographical-based books feature horses, but are perhaps more general farm/children's stories than pony books. Chestry Oak is more of a pony story, although not a traditional one by any means.

Kate Seredy won many awards during her career including the Newbery Medal twice and the Newbery Honor. As well as writing and illustrating she also worked as a nurse, a teacher and ran a book store. She was widely travelled and spoke four different languages.

Nagy Farm Series:
Both books are stories based on the author's own experiences as a child. As well as having some horsy interest, they are interesting explorations of a different culture, (being set in the author's native Hungary).

(VIKING [USA] 1935)
(1st UK edition HARRAP 1937)
Reprinted in hardback by Viking many times.
Reprinted in paperback by Scholastic.
Published in the UK with original illustrations by Harrap in 1937
Subsequently reprinted in the UK by Harrap in hardback.
Reprinted in the UK in paperback by Puffin.
Reprinted in the UK in  paperback Knight with different illustrations by Imre Hofbauer
SUMMARY: City girl Kate arrives to live on her uncle's farm and meets her cousin Jancsi. Although it is a culture shock at first for both parties, Kate soon learns to love country life and horses, and learns a lot about her culture and heritage too.

(VIKING [USA] 1939)
(1st UK edition HARRAP 1940)
Reprinted in hardback by Viking many times.
Reprinted in paperback by Scholastic/Dell/Puffin.
Published in the UK with original illustrations by Harrap and subsequently reprinted by them in hardback.
Also reprinted in the UK in paperback by Puffin.
SUMMARY: War breaks out and has a profound effect on Kate and Jancsi and the farm.

Collector's Info:
Both books were reprinted many times in hardback and paperback and are easy to find in both the USA and UK.

Other Horse & Pony Books:

(VIKING [USA] 1948)
(1st UK edition HARRAP 1957)
Reprinted in hardback by Viking.
Published in the UK in hardback
Reprinted in the UK in paperback.
SUMMARY: Prince Michael lives happily in a castle in Hungary riding his horse Midnight. But when war comes, and Nazis take over the castle, he has to move to American and leave his old way of life and his horse behind.
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Collector's Info:
Although not particularly hard to find in either the USA or the UK, copies tend to be quite expensive.