Alan Marshall (1902-1984)

Australian author.  Born in Noorat, Victoria in 1902. He has written novels, non fiction, short stories, newspaper columns and magazine articles. He is most famous for his book I Can Jump Puddles which was a fictionalised account of his childhood amongst the horses his father broke and sold, and details how after contracting polio at only 6 years of age he had to battle against his disability in order to live a normal life. It was made into a television series by the Australian Broadcasting Corporation in the 1980s and the story is quite rightly considered an Australian classic.  Although perhaps not a horse story as such, it does contain a lot of horse content and they are an integral part of the book.



Pony Books:

I CAN JUMP PUDDLES
(CHESHIRE [AUSTRALIA] 1955)
(1st UK edition SECKER & WARBERG 1956)
ILLUSTRATED BY ALISON FORBES
Reprinted a number of times in Australia in hardback and paperback.
UK editions include the 1st UK edition published by Secker & Warberg in hardback in 1956, a Reader's Digest edition, Longmans hardback edition and a Puffin paperback.
USA editions include the 1st American edition published by Cleveland in 1981 and the World Distributors hardback edition.
There was also a large print edition published by Chivers.
EDITIONS PICTURED: First edition, O'Neill hardback reprint,  Cheshire Australian 1950s paperback, Cheshire Australian 1970s paperback, Longmans UK hardback, Puffin paperback.
SUMMARY: A slightly fictionalised account of the author's childhood amongst horses. Although some of the characters and places have different names, it is almost totally true to life. The young hero lives with his family, who are supported by the horse-breaking  and horse dealing activities of his father. When he contracts polio it seems as if he will be crippled for life but he is determined to live life to the full, play with his friends, ride horses and eventually become a writer.
PONYMAD VIEW:  An outstanding book which is extremely well written and readable. Like Laurie
Lee's Cider With Rosie, it has a lyrical quality which lifts it above the norm of plodding autobiographies. Also similar is the array of characters which are described with an amazing eye for detail. Horses are an important part of the book. Although they do not feature all the time, even when they are not around, you feel their presence. People are often described of in terms of horse-like qualities. Alan's father exudes an air of horsiness which follows him where-ever he goes. As with all the best books moments of humour and pathos inter-mingle.
PONYMAD RATING: GOLDEN TROPHY FOR AN OUTSTANDING READ

The book, along with the author's further two autobiographical accounts, was made into a TV series.

Collector's Info:
Has been reprinted many times and is easy to find in Australia, the UK and the USA. The easiest edition to find in the UK is the Puffin paperback.