Penguin Random House is to publish The Racehorse Who Wouldn’t Gallop, the first children’s book from broadcaster Clare Balding.
Fiction publisher Ben Horslen acquired world rights from Eugenie Furniss at Furniss Lawton.
Aimed at 7 to eleven year-olds, The Racehorse Who Wouldn’t Gallop features Charlie Bass, a "horse-mad" nine-year-old who dreams of owning her own pony. Her parents buy a horse called Noble Warrior who "looks the part" but "won’t gallop". Nevertheless, Charlie is convinced that Noble Warrior has what it takes to be a champion – he just needs the right motivation.
Horslen said that working with Balding on the book 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," he said. "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."
Balding said she wanted to create a book which her nephews and niece would enjoy reading.
"So the decision to write fiction for children rather than adults was because of them," she explained. "They have been thoughtful (and very direct) critics as I’ve drafted and redrafted the 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."
Balding was a leading amateur flat jockey from 1988 to 1993. Her first book published in 2012 was My Animals and Other Family (Viking) and documents her life growing up in a racing yard. Walking Home (Penguin) followed in 2015 . Balding has been a broadcaster on TV and radio for more than 20 years and has covered a range of events including five summer Olympics, four Paralympics, four Winter Olympics, three Commonwealth Games and twenty-one Grand Nationals.
The Horse That Wouldn't Gallop will be published on 22nd September 2016 under the Puffin imprint.