K.M. Peyton’s Young Adult Books


K. M. Peyton (Bio1)


If you liked...
The Saddle Club, The Thoroughbred Series or The Heartland Series
then try
Fly-by-Night  or Darkling or Blind Beauty   by K. M. Peyton The Dear America Series
then try
The Flambards series by K. M. Peyton The Voyage of the Frog  by Gary Paulsen
then try
Sea Fever  by K. M. Peyton After the First Death by Robert Cormier
then try
Prove Yourself a Hero  by K. M. Peyton Fade by Robert Cormier

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Pattern of Roses
A Pattern of Roses by K.M. Peyton
Who is this mysterious K.M. Peyton whose books can offer so much?
She is a British author who has been writing for teens for over 40 years. K.M. Peyton has written over 50 books, all set in England where she lives. Many of her books include horses in some way, but they go beyond a simple horse story to include knuckle-biting excitement or suspense as well as an intense involvement with characters that feel like real people.
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Try These K. M. Peyton Books too...
These nine books have many of the same characters, but they are not really a series and not really sequels. Many of the books are told from the viewpoint of a character that was minor in another book. Some of them were probably published when your parents were small but they are still great at getting to the heart of telling about the intensity, frustrations and longings of being a teen.
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  1. Fly-By-Night (1968)
    Ruth Hollis is horse crazy. She lives in a new housing Estate in England and can’t possibly keep a horse, but Ruth doesn’t know this and her family doesn’t know this. Ruth buys an unbroken pony struggles to keep, look after and pay for Fly-by-Night.
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  2. The Team (1975)
    Ruth is outgrowing Fly-By-Night. She finds another pony, Toadhall Flax, that used to belong to her friend Peter. She is invited to join the Pony Club team by Jonathan Meredith’s snooty mother, but she knows she doesn’t fit in. Can she do her best for Toadhall Flax anyway?
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  3. Pennington
    Pennington’s Last Term
    (also called Pennington’s Seventeenth Summer) (1970)

    Patrick Pennington hates school and hates home. The adults around him all seem to be cruel and stupid and everything he does seems to come out wrong. Music is another thing forced on him by adults but it may save him.
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  4. The Beethoven Medal (1971)
    Ruth from Fly-By-Night and Patrick from Pennington’s Last Term meet each other. Patrick needs to concentrate on his music studies. What happens when two such intense people are strongly attracted?
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  5. Pennington’s Heir(1973)
    Patrick Pennington’s music career is starting to take off but Ruth Hollis is pregnant with his baby. How can they manage the baby and his career, especially when Patrick’s snobby music partner Carlissa would love to see things go wrong?
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  6. Marion’s Angels (1979)
    Ruth Hollis and Patrick Pennington appear as background characters in this book about intense 11 year old Marion who desperately wants to save the carved angels in an abandoned church.
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  7. proveHero
    Prove Yourself a Hero (1977)
    Jonathan Meredith who is a minor chatracter in The Team is kidnapped. He survives but his snooty mother seems more concerned about the money than him. When he is sent away from school because of crippling nightmares what can he do? How can he regain the self-respect that the kidnappers stole?
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  8. MidsummerNightDeath
    A Midsummer’s Night’s Death (1978)
    Jonathan Meredith’s boarding school is shocked by the death of one the teachers. It looks like suicide, but Jonathan learns that it might have been murder. Jonathan is in danger and he has to face the truth about another teacher who he idolises.
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  9. Free Rein (1983)
    Jonathan Meredith’s world is shattered when Iris becomes pregnant with his baby. Everyone  blames him, including his overbearing mother, even when Iris admits she did it on purpose. Jonathan wants to run away, but will this solve anything?
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The Flambards trilogy (and the fourth one)
Flambards2 flambardsinsummer edgecloud flambardsdivided

Flambards  (1967)>
Flambards in Summer  (1969)
The Edge of The Cloud  (1969)
Flambards Divided  (1981)

Flambards is the name of the English country house where orphaned Christina is sent to live just before World War I.  Flambards is ruled by violent, drunken Uncle Russell who cannot walk after a riding accident. Christina likes Will, her quiet cousin who loves flying machines instead of horses, but she also loves the riding that is the only interest of her arrogant cousin Mark.

The first three of these books were made into an award winning  British TV series in  1978 that is now available on DVD. Click here to learn more about the TV series.
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Jenny and her grandfather impulsively buy the colt Darkling at an auction. They believe he is capable of great things but everyone around them, including Jenny’s twisted family and their rich, mean neighbour’s the Strawson’s, believe that Darkling is no good.
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Who Sir? Me Sir?  (1983)
Sometimes all this talk about pony clubs is too much to bear. What chance does the ordinary city or suburban teenager have of getting near a horse, even if they desperately want to? In this book the British teens are ordinary – they go to a Comprehensive school. They are challenged to a race by the snobby Greycoats school. Can they overcome their lack of access to the privileges of the snobs and beat Greycoats?
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Blind Beauty (1999)
Tessa comes from a broken home and has a tyrannical stepfather. She accidentally comes across the son of the horse she loved as a child and she clings to him. Can Tessa save Buffoon when he is found to be blind? Can she even win races on him?
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Snowfall  (1998)
Charlotte has been betrothed to her Grandfather’s spotty curate despite being only 16 years old. Before she is married she is allowed one adventure in the Swiss Alps with her brother, Ben. Her trip to the Alps breaks her out of her sheltered Victorian childhood. Can she ever go back to her Grandfather and will she still have to marry the spotty curate?
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Created by Jan Pye
for LIS 304, Library Materials for Young Adults
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
April 2003
SEE ALSO: Books For Military Children by Jan Pye
To Contact Jan E-mail Jan Pye


Exhaustive Bibliography
List of all all K.M. Peyton’s Young Adult Books (Bio2)


  1. North to Adventure, Collins, 1959, Platt & Munk (New York City), 1965.
  2. Stormcock Meets Trouble, Collins, 1961.
  3. The Hard Way Home, Collins, 1962, revised edition, Goodchild, 1986, published as Sing a Song of Ambush, Platt & Munk, 1964.
  4. Sea Fever, illustrated by Victor G. Ambrus, World Publishing, 1963 (published in England as Windfall, Oxford University Press, 1963).
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  5. Brownsea Silver, Collins, 1964.
  6. The Maplin Bird, illustrated by Ambrus, Oxford University Press, 1964, World Publishing, 1965, reprinted with a new introduction by Peyton, Gregg (Boston, MA), 1980.
  7. The Plan for Birdsmarsh, illustrated by Ambrus, Oxford University Press, 1965, World Publishing, 1966.
  8. Thunder in the Sky, illustrated by Ambrus, Oxford University Press, 1966, World Publishing, 1967, reprinted, Bodley Head, 1985.
  9. Flambards (first book in a trilogy), illustrated by Ambrus, Oxford University Press, 1967, World Publishing, 1968.
  10. Fly-by-Night (And illustrator), Oxford University Press, 1968, World Publishing, 1969.
  11. The Edge of the Cloud (second book in a trilogy), illustrated by Ambrus, World Publishing, 1969.
  12. Flambards in Summer (third book in a trilogy), illustrated by Ambrus, Oxford University Press, 1969, World Publishing, 1970.
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  13. Pennington’s Seventeenth Summer (And illustrator), Oxford University Press, 1969, World Publishing, 1970, published as Pennington’s Last Term, Crowell (New York City), 1971.
  14. The Beethoven Medal (And illustrator), Oxford University Press, 1971, Crowell, 1972.
  15. A Pattern of Roses  (And illustrator), Oxford University Press, 1972, (Published in the United States as So Once Was I) , Crowell, 1973.
  16. Pennington’s Heir (And illustrator), Oxford University Press, 1973, Crowell, 1974.
  17. The Team (And illustrator), Oxford University Press, 1975, Crowell, 1976.
  18. The Right-Hand Man, Oxford University Press, 1977.
  19. Prove Yourself a Hero, Oxford University Press, 1977, Philomel Books, 1978.
  20. A Midsummer Night’s Death:With an Afterword by the Author, Oxford University Press, 1978, Philomel Books, 1979.
  21. Marion’s Angels, (Also Known as Falling Angels) Oxford University Press, 1979.
  22. The Flambards Trilogy (contains Flambards, The Edge of the Cloud, and Flambards in Summer), Puffin Books, 1980.
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  23. Flambards Divided, Oxford University Press, 1981, Philomel Books, 1982.
  24. Dear Fred, Bodley Head, 1981.
  25. Who, Sir? Me, Sir?, Philomel Books, 1983.
  26. Free Rein, Philomel Books, 1983. (Also known as The Last Ditch, Oxford University Press, 1983)
  27. Pennington:A Trilogy (contains Pennington’s Seventeenth Summer, The Beethoven Medal, and Pennington’s Heir), Oxford University Press, 1984.
  28. The Sound of Distant Cheering, Bodley Head, 1986.
  29. Downhill All the Way, Oxford University Press, 1988.
  30. Darkling, Doubleday, 1989.
  31. Poor Badger, Doubleday, 1990.
  32. The Boy Who Wasn’t There, Doubleday, 1992.
  33. The Wild Boy and Queen Moon, Doubleday, 1993.
  34. Snowfall, Scholastic, Houghton, 1994,.
  35. The Swallow Tale, Doubleday, 1995.
  36. Swallow Summer, Doubleday, 1996.
  37. Swallow the Star, Doubleday, 1997.
  38. Unquiet Spirits, Scholastic, 1997.
  39. Firehead, Scholastic, 1998.
  40. Blind Beauty, Dutton, 1999.
  41. Small Gains, David Fickling Books, coming out 7 August 2003 in the U.K.
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Media Adaptations:

  1. The Flambards Trilogy was made into a 13-part TV series by Yorkshire Television in 1978.
  2. The Right Hand Man was made into a film in 1987.
  3. Who Sir? Me Sir? was made into a TV series by the BBC.

Created by Jan Pye
for LIS 304, Library Materials for Young Adults
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
April 2003
SEE ALSO: Books For Military Children by Jan Pye
To Contact Jan E-mail Jan Pye


Who is K. M. Peyton? (Bio3)


K.M. Peyton's Life
There is no real person called K. M Peyton. When Kathleen Peyton started writing with her husband in the 1950s and 1960s she used her first initial K from Kathleen and his first initial M from Michael. Now she writes by herself but she kept using both their initials. Her first book, Sabre:the Horse from the Sea was published in 1947 under her maiden name of Kathleen Herald. She was only fifteen years old. How did a teenager come to write a book? K. M. Peyton says she started her writing career as a child when she was obsessed with horses. "Because of a dearth of real life ponies in my childhood career I had to make do with imaginary ones... my bicycle was, in my mind, a liver chestnut hunter called Talisman... For the occasions I went on foot, I chose one out of no less than two thousand horses that I had named and minutely described in several exercise books." (from Something About the Author).
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K.M. Peyton was born in Birmingham, England in 1929. This makes her pretty old, but she still  knows what it is like to be a teenager. It has been said that:"Peyton's greatest gift as an author for young adults ... is the empathy with which she creates her characters ... she gives often moody and difficult young people warm support on their determination to work out their own sense of what really matters in life." (from Authors and Artists for Young Adults, Volume 20). She never talks down to teens:"The adult world is seen here from the perspective of the teenager -- not unkindly, but acutely away of its deficiencies." (from Dictionary of Literary Biography, Volume 161).
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Like many of her characters K. M. Peyton is a woman of strong passions. When she was twenty-one her father said she shouldn't marry Michael Peyton because he had no job and no money. They married the next week. Her parents wanted her to go to university but K.M. Peyton wanted to be an artist. She went to the Manchester School of Art and received an Art Teacher's Diploma in 1951. Some versions of her books have her own illustrations. She taught art at Northampton High School for only two years before she gave up teaching to have children and write. Her two daughters are now grown up. She lives in Essex in England by the sea she loves and with the horses she loves.
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K.M Peyton has led an adventurous life. She has experienced many of the things she writes about in her books. She is an experienced sailor, and has often sailed with her husband Michael. Once she was even shipwrecked. She bought an unbroken New Forest pony like Ruth in Fly-By-Night. She broke in that pony just as Ruth did. She always has horses now and she recently had part ownership in a race horse, so she learned about British horse racing from the inside. K.M Peyton has put these experiences to good use in her writing. One of the best parts of reading her books is the "accurate and powerful descriptions of physical activities" (from Authors and Artists for Young Adults, Volume 20). This is also called a gift "of writing extremely well about movement:about the way people move with and through and against the elements, in boats, on horseback, and - in the Flambards novels - in those frail, wind-buffeted early aircraft." (from A Sense of Story, page 173). This means that when a K.M. Peyton character is riding a horse in the Grand National race or sailing in a storm you really FEEL what it is like to be there.
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And the secret to her success? What does a writer with over fifty books published say about writing?

"I write exactly what I want to write, and since it appears to have found an appreciative market I feel I am very lucky."

But she also feels she has to experience the distractions of everyday life or she couldn't write:

"I think now that if I only had a book to write and nothing else to do, I would just sit and stare into space.... Where would I be without my interruptions? Still staring at a blank sheet in the typewriter." (from The Thorny Paradise, page 126).
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Sources: or how to find out more about K.M Peyton
If you want to find out about an author's life and works then at most large public libraries or university libraries you can search in reference books such as Contemporary Authors and Something About the Author.  These books (and lately online databases) have lots of entries for K.M. Peyton since she has been writing so long. Here are some of the more recent or useful ones:
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A Sense of Story:Essays on Contemporary Writers for Children. By John Rowe Townsend. Longman Group, 1971.

Contemporary Authors, Volume 69.

Or online from Contemporary Authors Online. The Gale Group, 2000.

Entry for  Kathleen Wendy Peyton.  New Entry :10/06/1998

Dictionary of Literary Biography, Volume 161:British Children's Writer's since 1960, First Series. Pages 268-285. Written by Gwnyeth Evans. Malaspina University College.

Something about the Author, Volume 62.  1990. Pages 143-149.

K.M. Peyton talks about writing in her own words:

The Thorny Paradise:Writers on Writing for Children, Kestrel Books, 1975. Pages 123-127.
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What K. M. Peyton's Fans Say About Blind Beauty
A reviewer on amazon.com called salinascowgirl says :
"This book was excellent. Racing knowledge is good and helps push the believability of this story. The characters are real and the author is not afraid to show their bad sides or the negative sides to life. A nice, long, satisfying read that will leave you wanting more, it plays with your emotions. I loved it."
Other comments were "Brilliant!" "Awewsone Book" and "My favorite Book".
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About Flambards
A reviewer on amazon.com from Warwickshire, England wrote:
"I finished reading the whole series a few days ago and I cannot forget the effect that these books had on me, I admit that I did cry at times."
Another from Canada wrote:
 "This book is wonderful! I'm a young adult, which the series is obviously aimed at. I loved this book, and am searching for the other two. Somebody should really try to re-print them! KM Peyton did a really wonderful job with this book, and I look forward to reading the other two!"

About Fly-By-Night
A reviewer on amazon.com from the USA wrote:
"All horse-loving girls should read this book."
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About Snowfall
A reviewer on amazon.com called eris8656 says :
"This book is what got me into reading. The first time I read it, it took me three months because I was a bad reader but the second time I read it a couple months later it took me three days. So this book really changed my life."
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Awards K. M. Peyton has Won

American Library Association notable Book listings
- 1963, for Sea Fever
- 1967, for Flambards
- 1969, for Flambards in Summer
- 1971, for Pennington's Last Term
- 1971, for The Beethoven Medal
- 1972, for A Pattern of Roses
- 1973, for Pennington's Heir
New York Herald Tribune award
- 1965, for The Maplin Bird
Carnegie Medal Commendations
- 1962, for Windfall
- 1964, for The Maplin Bird
- 1965, for The Plan for Birdsmarch
- 1966, for Thunder in the Sky
- 1967, for Flambards
- 1969, for Flambards in Summer
- 1977, for The Team
Carnegie Medal Winner
- 1969, for The Edge of the Cloud
Guardian Award
- 1970, for Flambards, The Edge of the Cloud, and Flambards in Summer
Best Books for Young Adults
- 1979, for Prove Yourself a Hero
Boston Globe - Horn Book Honor Book
- 1969, for Flambards
Yorkshire Television made the first three books of the Flambards series into a television series in 1978. It was  (and  still is) immensely popular. It is available on video and DVD. Find out (lots!) more about it:
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Two web pages made by fans:
A discussion group on yahoo about the TV series:
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How to get K.M. Peyton’s books
Some of K.M. Peyton's books can be hard to find in America, especially her older ones. You can try the library and interlibrary loan. If they don't have them you can try the British version of amamzon.com, amazon.co.uk for her newer ones. For the old ones you can try eBay.com on the internet or keep your eyes peeled at second hand book stores and sales.
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How to contact K. M. Peyton
The usual way to contact an author is to write to their publisher. K.M. Peyton's books have been published and republished by a lot of different companies. Here are her latest publishers.
K.M. Peyton's latest book published in the United States was Blind Beauty. It was published by:
Dutton Children's Books
A division of Penguin Putnam Books for Young Readers
345 Hudson Street, New York, New York 10014
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Her latest book in England is Small Gains. This is being published in August by:
David Fickling Books
31 Beaumont Street

Her home address is:
Rookery Cottage
North Fambridge
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Created by Jan Pye
for LIS 304, Library Materials for Young Adults
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
April 2003
SEE ALSO: Books For Military Children by Jan Pye
To Contact Jan E-mail Jan Pye