Puffin to publish Clare Balding’s first book for children

Penguin Random House Children’s is delighted to announce that it will be publishing the first children’s book from national treasure and number one bestselling author Clare Balding. The Racehorse Who Wouldn’t Gallop is aimed at 7–11-year-olds and will be published on 22nd September 2016 under the Puffin imprint.

Charlie Bass is a horse-mad nine-year-old who dreams of owning her own pony. So when her eccentric parents announce that they are going to buy a racehorse, Charlie is beyond thrilled. The horse they buy, Noble Warrior, looks the part: strong, fit and healthy. There’s just one problem – he won’t gallop. In fact, he won’t even trot round the field without his best friend, Percy, a naughty Palomino pony, at his side. Nevertheless, Charlie is convinced that Noble Warrior has what it takes to be a champion – he just needs the right motivation.

Clare Balding said: ‘I wanted to create a book my nephews and my niece would enjoy reading, so the decision to write fiction for children rather than adults was because of them. They have been thoughtful (and very direct) critics as I’ve drafted and redrafted this story. Writing requires a huge amount of patience and hard work – while I have enjoyed it immensely, I have also taken it very seriously and I hope it shows in the finished product. The Puffin team have been fabulous in their guidance and support and I can’t wait to share the exploits of Charlie, Noble Warrior and Percy with the wider public.’

Ben Horslen said: ‘Working with Clare on her first book for children has been an absolute delight. Anyone who’s heard her broadcast or read her adult books knows Clare has an eagle-eye for detail and a natural way with words, but it’s her delightfully mischievous sense of humour that has really brought her characters to life – human and horse. The Racehorse Who Wouldn’t Gallop is in the tradition of classic animal stories such as Gerald Durrell’s My Family and Other Animals, but with a thoroughly modern twist and a fantastic, can-do heroine. I’m thrilled to be welcoming Clare to the Puffin family, where I’m certain her writing is going to inspire a new generation of readers.’

World rights were acquired by fiction publisher Ben Horslen from Eugenie Furniss at Furniss Lawton.

Clare’s books for adults, My Animals and Other Family and Walking Home, published by Penguin General, have been runaway bestsellers and prize-winners.

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