- Ride Into Danger and other gripping stories – Bunty PSL: #243 
This book consists of 4 short stories, while not officially tied together, I would say there is a common theme of bravery in each story
Ride Into Danger
Kelly Johnson is out riding with her horse King, during stormy weather. She dismounts to try and navigate him along a narrow path, but suddenly it gives way and King falls down the steep incline into the bank below. Kelly manages to grab onto a root to stop herself falling in with him and she sees King is temporarily stopped from being swept away by a fallen tree. She will need to act quickly to help get him out, and she is hopeful when it turns out a surly neighbour Jim Selby, is nearby. But when she asks for help, he tells her that he doesn’t have a rope and turns away. Kelly naturally is upset but she gathers herself and has an idea. She orders Selby to follow her lead and surprisingly he does They manage to dislodge some stones into the river making a temporary dam, so Kelly can wade in and fetch King. When she asks Jim what made him change his mind and help, he tells her he admired her pluck.
Night of Fear
Susan Martin is woken by storm. Her father, a police doctor, has to go out on an emergency call, leaving Susan in charge of her young sister, Althea. She has not settled back to bed yet when she sees a car crash just outside the house, and she goes to see if she can help. One of the men is unconscious in the car but his friend says it is best not to move him an asks to use her phone. Susan agrees but she begins to suspect that all is not right. When he rings a friend rather than ambulance, she knows he is not to be trusted, but Althea has come downstair and she has to make sure she is safe. He tells Susan to get any money they have in the house while Althea will stay with him. While getting the housekeeping money, Susan seea her dad arriving home, so she flicks on and off the kitchen lights to warn him, then she locks the front house door. When she gives the man the money and he leaves room. she blocks the room so he will be trapped on the hallway. The police who have arrived with Dr Martin arrest him It seems the call Dr Martin was called out to was a jewellery robbery and the police were following the car. The Sergeant tells Susan she could think of police force as possible career, due to her quick thinking.
The Courage of Candy
Candy Scott’s mother was always fussing over her as she assumed she was delicate. She would give Candy medicine “just in case”, insist on her wearing a sun hat and says she shouldn’t run about too much. While they had a temporary house guest, a dog, Terry, Candy was enjoying some freedom, when she took him out for walks. On one of these occasions, Candy is enjoying having a lie down in the park, but she falls asleep and Terry is missing when she wakes up. Early the next morning Candy leaves home determined to find him. After a big trek she finds Terry being being pushed into dog fighting for a gang of boys entertainment. Candy saves Terry and sprays the gang with water. After her adventure she returns home deciding she is no longer going to go along with mothers over protectiveness. A month later their relationship has much improved, and Candy has more freedom.
Bad News for Nancy
Sixteen year old, Nancy Clements, was minding her parents shop and her siblings, while her parents were away on holiday. Then she hears news on the radio that her parents’ plane was missing and may have crashed. While her Aunt Mary is also helping out at the shop while they are away, Nancy begins to think of the future if her parents are dead. Her Aunt Mary would not be able to help out permanently and her youngest brother Alec, is only five so she would have to stay with him until he grows up. While she keeps the news from Alec, she does tell her other 2 siblings. Her other siblings also put on brave and practical faces, saying they will help around the house. Then their Dad rings! The plane only had a small crash with no major injuries. Nancy is so happy, she also thinks after a day like this, in the future she’d be able to cope with anything.
Considering that these small booklets were only 64 pages and usually just had 2 panels per page, splitting that into 4 stories really means they have to get to point quickly and still tell an interesting story. There were many picture story library that had this short story format, and despite the limited space they usually were successful in telling a good story. A bit more unusual for this book, is the theme isn’t very apparent and the title comes from the first story rather than an anthology name to encompass all stories (unlike something like Scream! or Dolwyn’s Dolls). With only the small sub title “and other gripping stories” it doesn’t hint at what else to expect. At first glance of the cover, I thought they may all be horse stories, then when the second story also involved storm, I thought it might be the common thread but after reading all four stories it does seem like “bravery” is the thing tying the stories together. Which can appear in different ways, whether it is bravery and quick thinking in perilous situations like Kelly and Susan, standing up for yourself like Candy or bravery in the face of terrible news like Nancy.
I think the stories worked pretty well, if I was to pick on the weakest it would probably be The Courage of Candy. It’s not a bad story but could have been expanded, to see more of Candy’s mother’s fussing and would have liked to see Candy’s actual confrontation with her at the end, instead it has one panel of Candy outside the house ready to talk to her mother and the next panel is one month later. There can be a reliance of “tell not show” in some of the stories but with limited space this is expected to a degree. Bad News for Nancy is quite dialogue/thought heavy but works for the story as Nancy tries to figure out what to do and still shows the weight of the news in her expressions. Night of Fear wraps up quite quickly but does what it needs to do. Ride Into Danger has the most interesting visuals with the storm and horse in danger, so it is good choice to start of the book. It’s a quick, fun, read and I think the two strongest stories start and finish the book.