Saturday, January 25, 2014

Horses, Horses, Horses

Tonight we watched The Story of Seabiscuit, the 1949 version with Shirley Temple. It's not as accurate as the 2003 version, however it's cleaner and not deeply and darkly depressing. However the 1949 version is accurate about the star, Seabiscuit, who was portrayed by one of Seabiscuit's sons. Also there is film footage from the actual races that were held during the Great Depression.  This is a great movie to introduce children to the story of the horse who couldn't possibly win, but did. Meanwhile here's a great write-up about the accuracies v inaccuracies of The Story of Seabiscuit from TMC.

The racehorse I grew up with was Old Bones the Wonder Horse by Mildred Mastin Pace, a book I got while in elementary school. I wore that beginning chapter book out, which might be why it's no longer in my bookcase. =( I'd love a copy of it again.

That book led to another bookclub favorite I got while in school, Tall and Proud by Vian Smith. This was my all-time favorite book that I read repeatedly and relived and savored.  Set in England, a young girl dreams of one day owning a horse, which is a distant reality since her parents do not have the budget for such luxery. However she comes down with polio and struggles to learn to walk again.  Unmotivated, she progresses slowly, until her parents make a huge sacrifice that leads to a heroic moment during a time of grave danger. One day I came home from school and realized my copy of Tall and Proud had slipped out of my arms. I was carrying a pile of school books for homework, that I didn't realize the book had slipped out. Even though it had my name inside the cover, I never found it again.

And then my next favorite (of the lesser knowns) was in the Little House books by Laura Ingalls Wilder.  Farmer Boy is about her husband, Almanzo, while he was growing up in Malone, New York, near the Canadian border.  His father raised Morgans, whom Almanzo thought were the most beautiful horses in the world. He hoped he could have one of his own to train.  In By the Shores of Silver Lake, Laura first meets Almanzo in Dakota Territory. Actually, she notices his beautiful matching team of Morgan horses.  In The Long Winter, Almanzo, with his friend Cap Garland and the beautiful morgans, risk their lives to find grain to bring to the starving town before the next monster blizzard hits.  In Little Town on the Prairie, Laura cheers on the Morgans to win the race on the Fourth of July.  In These Happy Golden Years, Almanzo courts Laura, who gets to ride behind the beautiful horses, and gets to help break in the young colts. 

Of course there are many other horse books and movies that are well-known which I do have today to watch and share and enjoy.  However I thought I'd share about these horses that are little known to children.

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