The Little White Horse
Front cover of unknown edition
|Illustrator||C. Walter Hodges|
|Genre||Children's fantasy novel|
|Publisher||University of London|
|Media type||Print (hardcover)|
|Pages||286 pp (first edition)|
|LC Class||PZ7.G71 Li|
The Little White Horse is a low fantasy children's novel by Elizabeth Goudge, first published by the University of London Press in 1946 with illustrations by C. Walter Hodges. Coward–McCann published a U.S. edition next year. Set in 1842, it features a recently orphaned teenage girl who is sent to the manor house of her cousin and guardian in the West Country of England. The estate, village, and vicinity are shrouded in mystery and magic; the "little white horse" is a unicorn.
Maria Merryweather becomes an orphan at age 13, upon her father's death in 1842. She is sent to the Moonacre Manor somewhere in the west of England, accompanied by her governess Miss Heliotrope and dog Wiggins. There she finds herself in a world out of time. Her cousin and guardian Sir Benjamin Merryweather is one of the "sun" Merryweathers, and she loves him right away, as sun and moon Merryweathers do. Maria discovers that there is an ancient mystery about the founding of the estate.
She is aided by wonderful people and magical beasts, but it is only by self-sacrifice and perseverance, too, that Maria is able to save Moonacre, right the wrongs, reunite lost loves and finally bring peace to the valley.
- Maria Merryweather - A smart, quick-thinking thirteen-year-old orphan with red hair and freckles. She rescues a hare in the forest and names it Serena as her pet that she keeps on her own.
- Robin - The son of Loveday Minette. He is later married to Maria and they have 10 children.
- Loveday Minette - Robin's mother and Sir Benjamin's ex-fiancee. She is known in the book to have a passion for pink geraniums. When their argument broke out about the geraniums, she left Moonacre and went and got married in town to a lawyer.
- Sir Benjamin Merryweather - Maria's cousin and guardian.
- Old Parson - The parson who helps Maria give Paradise Hill back to God. His real name is Louis de Fontenelle.
- Miss Heliotrope - Maria's governess. She eventually marries the parson, who was her childhood sweetheart. She is very tall, with forget-me-not blue eyes. She suffers from indigestion at the beginning.
- Marmaduke Scarlet - Sir Benjamin's cook and housekeeper. Also the owner of Zachariah the cat. He doesn't like feminine curiosity and sees his kitchen as a private domain. He is a wonderful chef though.
- Digweed - Sir Benjamin's coachman and gardener who falls in love with Miss Heliotrope.
- Zachariah - Marmaduke's special cat. He helps out Maria and Robin. He writes messages in the ashes in the kitchen fireplace.
- Wrolf (pronounced Rolf) - a lion. He acts as Maria's special protector, called a dog by Sir Benjamin and others.
- Serena - A hare that Maria saved from the Men from the Dark Woods.
- Wiggins - Maria's greedy dog.
- Periwinkle - Maria's gray pony whose other name is joy-of-the-ground.
The 1994 television mini-series Moonacre was based on The Little White Horse.
In 2008, the book was adapted into a film called The Secret of Moonacre, written by Lucy Shuttleworth and Graham Alborough and directed by Gabor Csupo. Starring Dakota Blue Richards as Maria, the movie was mostly shot in Hungary and released in February 2009.
- "The little white horse" (first edition). Library of Congress Catalog Record.
"The little white horse" (first U.S. edition). LCC record. Retrieved 2012-09-14.
- (Carnegie Winner 1946). Living Archive: Celebrating the Carnegie and Greenaway Winners. CILIP. Retrieved 2012-07-23.
- "Formats and Editions of The little white horse". WorldCat. Retrieved 2012-09-14.
- "Richards Returns In Moonacre". SciFi Wire. 2007-12-03. Archived from the original on 2008-02-03. Retrieved 2007-12-05.
- "Tea and Cake with JK Rowling" in Words With Jam, June 2011
- Official web site for the movie.
- The Secret of Moonacre at the Internet Movie Database
- Elizabeth Goudge Society page and reader forum
- The Little White Horse in libraries (WorldCat catalog) —immediately, first US edition
- Elizabeth Goudge at the Internet Speculative Fiction Database
The Wind on the Moon
|Carnegie Medal recipient
Collected Stories for Children