Sunday, December 30, 2012

A Cavalcade Of Horses In Fact, Fantasy And Fiction (1961)

A Cavalcade Of Horses In Fact, Fantasy And Fiction
edited by Florence M. Peterson and Irene Smith, il. Wesley Dennis
1961, Thomas Nelson & Sons

Must we drag on this stupid existence forever,
So idle and weary, so full of remorse,

While every one else takes his pleasure,
and never
Seems happy unless he is riding a horse?
The Nutcracker and the Sugar-Tongs, Edward Lear

An anthology with a wide variety of topics and themes, with shorter entries than most anthologies, and clearly geared to younger children.  The Wesley Dennis illustrations are confined to small collages at the start of each section.

Horses To Find

The Blind Colt by Glen Rounds (1941)
Hunted Horses by Glen Rounds (1951)
The River Horse by Nina Ames Frey (1953)

Horses To Tame
The Black Stallion And The Red Mare by Gladys Francis Lewis
A Battle For Mastery by Shannon Garst from Cowboy Boots (1946)

Horses To Rescue
Elijah, The Hermit Horse by Bill Hosokawa
The Outlaw Roan by Stephen Holt from The Phantom Roan (1949)
Easy Does It! by Robert L. McGrath

Horses To Ride
Trapped! by Arlene Hale (1960)
Lessons From Holley by C.W. Anderson from High Courage (1941)
Riding Song by Anonymous from Songs Of The Cattle Trail (1919)

Horses To Cheer
Black Gold by Marguerite Henry from Black Gold (1957)
The Good Luck Colt by Genevieve Torrey Eames from The Good Luck Colt (1953)

Horses To Know
Ancestors and Modern Relatives in the Family of Horses by Irene Smith
Justin Morgan, Vermont Horse Hero by Harland Manchester (1954)
The Runaway by Robert Frost (1951)
The Arabian by Robert Sidney Downs from Canyon Fury (1952)
A Horse Afraid Of His Shadow by Frances Carpenter from Wonder Tales Of Horses And Heroes (1952)
Alexander The Great by Eleanor and Herbert Farjeon from Heroes And Heroines (1933)
An Immortal Horse by Florence K. Peterson
Cream White Marengo by Florence K. Peterson
Buffalo Bill by Eleanor and Herbert Farjeon from Heroes And Heroines (1933)
Jeb Stuart, Boy In The Saddle by Gertrude Hecker Winders, from Jeb Stuart, Boy In The Saddle (1959)

Horses To Dream About
Pegaus, The Winged Horse by Irene Smith
Pegasus In Pound by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
The Mud Pony by Frances Jenkins Olcott from Red Indian Fairy Book (1945)
The Nutcracker And The Sugar-Tongs by Edward Lear from The Complete Nonsense Book
The Horse On The Chuch Tower by Baron Munchhausen
Carrots And Hay For Saint Nicholas' Horses by Florence K. Peterson
The Three Horses by Ivy O. Eastwick from I Rode A Black Horse Far Away (1960)

Horses To Thank
Comanche Of The Seventh by Margaret Leighton (1957)
Myles Keogh's Horse by John Hay from Poetry's Plea For Animals
General Putnam's Ride by Florence K. Peterson
Paul Revere's Ride by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
The Old Cavalry Horse by Frances Margaret Fox from The Last Run Of Uncle Sam's Fire Horses
Western Wagons by Rosemary and Stephen Vincent Benet from Book Of Americans (1933)
Pony Express Sage by Florence K. Peterson
Stage Coach Days by Florence K. Peterson
Not So Long Ago by Irene Smith
The Last Run by Frances Margaret Fox
Old Doctor Dobbin by Irene Smith
From The Book of Job - The Bible

Horses To Keep
Little Vic by Doris Gates, from Little Vic (1951)
Black Beauty by Anna Sewell (intro by Noel Streatfeild), from Black Beauty


"The Blind Colt" by Glen Rounds (1941) from The Blind Colt
10-year-old Whitey convinces his uncle that they don't need to shoot a blind foal to forestall it dying in an inevitable accident; he'll look after it.

"Hunted Horses" by Glen Rounds (1951) from Wild Appaloosa
A crafty mustang stallion narrowly escapes an equally crafty trap.

Glen Rounds (1906-2002) wrote and illustrated many children's books about the West.  His horse books include Blind Colt, Blind Outlaw, and the Whitey books.

"The River Horse" by Nina Ames Frey (1953) from The River Horse
Arana, a Guatemalan boy, longs for a horse that his simple forest family could never support. But one day, he spies a small, striped creature that looks oddly like a tiny horse.

The danta of The River Horse is a tapir, which just tickles me. An excerpt from this book appears in another horse anthology, The Big Book Of Favorite Horse Stories, which seems to indicate a great latitude for what constitutes a horse story than I'd have expected.

"The Black Stallion And The Red Mare" by Gladys Francis Lewis
Donald and his father are baffled by the odd behavior of a mustang stallion who is caught when he refuses to leave a chestnut mare.

Also known as "The Wild Horse Roundup, and also appears in the anthology The Big Book Of Favorite Horse Stories.

"A Battle For Mastery" by Shannon Garst from Cowboy Boots (1946)
Summering on his uncle's Wyoming ranch, Bob idolizes the cowboy Montana.  Montana bets the other hands that he can ride and train the worst bucker on the property, Dynamite.

Shannon Garst (1894-1981) wrote many children's books, often with Western themes.  Among her horse-themed books were Cowboy Boots, Silver Spurs For Cowboy Boots, Crazy About Horses, Tall In The Saddle, The Burro Who Sat Down and A Horse And A Hero.

"Elijah, The Hermit Horse" by Bill Hosokawa
A packhorse named Bugs escapes his corral and vanishes; months later, a pilot spots a horse standing atop a Colorado mountain, stranded in the deep snow. The story catches the public imagination, leading to a rescue effort.

William Kumpai Hosokawa (1915 – 2007) was a Japanese-American journalist at The Denver Post.  His story for Reader's Digest, coming on the heels of a Life Magazine story, made a one-day wonder out of a random packhorse who'd become stranded on a mountain.  The Colorado blog Restless Native goes into the story further.

"The Outlaw Roan" by Stephen Holt from The Phantom Roan (1949)
Stung by the death of his horse, Glenn leaves his uncle's faltering ranch to go work in the city, leaving behind his dreams of becoming a vet. He stumbles across a notorious mustang, a vicious roan, lamed by a sharp rock, and is drawn back to his passion for healing.

Stephen Holt (1894-1987) was a pen name for Harlan Thompson, who produced several Western-themed horse books including Prairie Colt, Spook, The Mustang and The Whistling Stallion.

"Easy Does It!" by Robert L. McGrath (originally in Scholastic Magazine, 1959)
An Eastern orphan transplanted to his uncle's ranch butts heads with the range boss when he persists in gentling his colt, Lucky, instead of breaking him the western way.

 "Easy Does It" also appears in the anthology Favorite Horse Stories (1965)

"Trapped!" by Arlene Hale (1960) (originally in Calling All Girls Magazine)
When bandits kidnap her and her friends, a quick-thinking girl leaves a clue during the confusion.

Arlene Hale appears to have specialized in romance novels and their sub-genre of nurse romances.

"Lessons From Holley" by C.W. Anderson from High Courage (1941)
The black groom Holley tells Patsy endless stories of horses, and the two prepare the horse Bobcat for timber racing.

Clarence William Anderson (1891-1971) wrote and illustrated many classic American horse books, including Billy And Blaze, Afraid To Ride, and The Blind Connemara.

"Riding Song" by Anonymous from Songs Of The Cattle Trail (1919) Poem
Take the life of cities -
Here's the life for me.
'Twere a thousand pities
Not to gallop free.

"Black Gold" by Marguerite Henry from Black Gold (1957)
Al Hoots gets himself barred from racing when he refuses to turn over his mare after a claiming race.

Marguerite Henry (1902-1997) wrote several classic 20th century horse books, but her most famous was Misty of Chincoteague, a Newberry winner for 1947 and one of the few older horse books still in print..

"The Good Luck Colt" by Genevieve Torrey Eames from The Good Luck Colt (1953)
Martin's beloved harness colt, Good Luck, is stolen by thieves.

Eames wrote several horse books, including A Horse To Remember, Pat Rides The Trail, Ghost Town Cowboy, and Flying Roundup.

"Ancestors and Modern Relatives in the Family of Horses" by Irene Smith
A very brief look a tthe history of the horse.

"Justin Morgan, Vermont Horse Hero" by Harland Manchester (1954) originally appeared in the January 1955 issue of American Mercury.
There are in America some twenty breeds of horses, but in the Green Mountain country only two breeds are recognized: Morgan and "other horses."

"The Runaway" by Robert Frost (1951) Poem
Once when the snow of the year was beginning to fall/We stopped by a mountain pasture to say "Whose colt?"/A little Morgan had one forefoot on the wall,/The other curled at his breast.  He dipped his head/And snorted at us.  And then he had to bolt.

Robert Frost (1874-1963) is simply too well known to bother summarizing.  I did come across an interesting essay about the horse in American poetry from literary magazine The New Criterion.

"The Arabian" by Robert Sidney Downs from Canyon Fury (1952
A very brief scene in which Jeff rides his mare, Mecca, around his uncle's ranch and muses on the heritage of the Arabian horses they raise.  The author's true name was Robert Sidney Bowen,

Robert Sidney Downs was one of several pseudonyms of author Robert Sidney Bowen. He was most famous for his WWII-set teen adventure series starring Dave Dawson and Red Randall, and a host of sports-themed books for boys. Under the name James Robert Richard, he published several horsey titles in the 1950's: Phantom Mustang, The Purple Palomino, The Appaloosa Curse, Snow King, Lippizan Horse, Double M For Morgans, and Joker, The Polo Pony.

"A Horse Afraid Of His Shadow" by Frances Carpenter from Wonder Tales Of Horses And Heroes (1952)
The story of Alexander, and his taming of the stallion Bucephalus.

"Alexander The Great" by Eleanor and Herbert Farjeon from Heroes And Heroines (1933) Poem
Cheerful sillines about Alexander's lack of worlds to conquer.

"An Immortal Horse" by Florence K. Peterson
A brief tribute t oTraveller, the gray horse who was the favorite of Confederate general Robert E. Lee.

"Cream White Marengo" by Florence K. Peterson
Another brief tribute to a soldier's horse, this time the favorite battle mount of Napoleon.

"Buffalo Bill" by Eleanor and Herbert Farjeon from Heroes And Heroines (1933) Poem
I say! What a thrill!/Here's Buffalo Bill,/The King of the Cowboys in valour and skill,/With his fringes of leather, his cowpuncher's hat,/His lasso and pistols and boot and all that!

"Jeb Stuart, Boy In The Saddle" by Gertrude Hecker Winders, from Jeb Stuart, Boy In The Saddle (1959)
James Ewell Brown Stuart was a famous scout for the Confederacy, and this excerpt is from a children's biography that chronicles his beloved first horse, Bayberry.

"Pegaus, The Winged Horse" by Irene Smith
A retelling of the myth of a flying horse trapped by a magic bridle.

"Pegasus In Pound" by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow Poem
Once into a quiet village,/Without haste and without heed,/In the golden prime of morning,/Strayed the poet's winged steed.

"The Mud Pony" by Frances Jenkins Olcott from Red Indian Fairy Book (1945)
A poor Indian boy is visited by a dream that promises him Mother Earth will give him a horse.  In the morning, he finds a fast, clever brown pony with a white face.  The only catch is he must cover the pony each night or the dew will turn him back into earth.

"The Nutcracker And The Sugar-Tongs" by Edward Lear from The Complete Nonsense Book Poem
Must we drag on this stupid existence forever,/So idle and weary, so full of remorse,/While every one else takes his pleasure, and never/Seems happy unless he is riding a horse?

A pair of utensils go racing in this nonsense poem.

"The Horse On The Chuch Tower" by Baron Munchhausen
A tall tale by a man famous for them.

"Carrots And Hay For Saint Nicholas' Horse" by Florence K. Peterson
The story of the German and Dutch Christmas tradition of putting out hay and carrots for the horse who in their legends carries Santa Claus on his rounds.

"The Three Horses" by Ivy O. Eastwick from I Rode A Black Horse Far Away (1960)
I patted the white horse,/I stroked the tgray,/and I rode the black horse far away.

"Comanche Of The Seventh" by Margaret Leighton (1957)
The story of Little Big Horn, from the perspective of the sole U.S. Army survivor, the horse Comanche.

"Myles Keogh's Horse" by John Hay from Poetry's Plea For Animals   Poem
On the bluff of the Little Big-Horn,/At the close of a woeful day,/Custer and his Three Hundred/In death and silence lay./And of all that stoof at noonday/In that fiery scorpion ring/Myles Keogh's horse, at evening,/Was the only living thing.

"General Putnam's Ride"  by Florence K. Peterson
Peterson retells what is evidently a favorite Connecticut tale of the Revolution, when 59-year-old  Israel Putnam, already respected as a daring and courageous soldier, escaped a British raid by riding breakneck down a flight of stone steps.

"Paul Revere's Ride" by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow Poem
Through all our history, to the last,
In the hour of darkness and peril and need,
The people will waken and listen to hear
The hurrying hoof-beats of that steed,
And the midnight message of Paul Revere.

"The Old Cavalry Horse" by Frances Margaret Fox, from The Last Run Of Uncle Sam's Fire Horses
A old Army horse becomes a milk wagon plug, but one day hears the bugle call.

"Western Wagons" by Rosemary and Stephen Vincent Benet from Book Of Americans (1933)
There's gold in far Wyoming, there's black earth in Ioway.
So pack up the kids and blankets, for we're moving out today!
The cowards never started and the weak died on the road.
And all aceross the continent the endless campfires glowed.

"Pony Express Sage" by Florence K. Peterson
Peterson gives a brief description of the short-lived but long-remembered Pony Express.

"Stage Coach Days" by Florence K. Peterson
A one-page tribute to the stagecoach drivers and horses.

"Not So Long Ago" by Irene Smith from As We Were (1946)
A tribute to the horse in the building of America, which concludes with the sentence: In the building of this country they gave service beyond all measure.

"The Last Run" by Frances Margaret Fox
In 1925, the last 3 fire-horses in Washington, D.C. were saved from auction and sent to an honorable retirement.

"Old Doctor Dobbin" by Irene Smith
In 1930, a horse named Doc Dobbin was honored with a party for his role in protecting 30,000 children against diptheria.  Doc was one of around 150 horses at the drug company E.R. Squibb & Sons; the horses were used to produce serum which could be used to fight and prevent diptheria.

From The Book of Job - The Bible
He goeth out to meet the armed men.
He mocketh at fear, and is not dismayed.

"Little Vic" by Doris Gates, from Little Vic (1951)
Pony Rivers is there when the Thoroughbred foal Little Vic is born, and when he is sold Pony is determined to follow him.

"Black Beauty" by Anna Sewell (intro by Noel Streatfeild), from Black Beauty
Excerpts from the famous horse classic about a black horse and his many masters.

Tapir Specialist Group

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

The Rocking Horse Secret (1977)

The Rocking Horse Secret
Rumer Godden, il. Juliet Stanwell Smith

There still was horses here then," Jed went on, his brown eyes shining.  "Blackberry, only a big old cob, he was, but she had Flamingo, her hunter.  See m'hat," said Jed, "and this feather?" - only he said "fevver" - "Went all the way to the London zoo for that, I did, and worn it ever since for Flamingo."

Pomeroy Place no longer has horses, unless you count the rocking horse in the long-deserted nursery.  The estate has fallen into decay, old Miss Pomeroy withdrawn and not quite right in her mind, the outdoor work handled by the young man Jed and the indoor by Tibby's mother, now a live-in housemaid.  Tibby herself is a study small child, fascinated by her new home and particularly by the rocking horse. 

He was black, instead of dapple-grey as are most rocking horses, which made him look more real.  His mane and tail were black, too, and silky, and he had a red saddle, a red bridle with reins.

Tibby feels sorry for all the abandoned toys and longs to ride Noble, even dreaming of it.  And slowly, she realizes that someone is riding him.  The old lady herself, terrifying and regal, is visting her old friend in the nursery and one day comes face to face with Tibby.  The reprecussions of that chance meeting will disrupt quite a few plans, and give Tibby and her mother a real home once and for all. 

About the author
Rumer Godden (1907-1998) was born in England but grew up in India and spent much of her life traveling.  A prolific writer, she wrote novels, children's books, nonfiction, and poetry.  A common theme in the children's books were dolls and toys - The Doll's House, Miss Happiness and Miss Flower, and Little Plum are a few of these books.  Religion, specifically Catholicism, was another common them - Black Narcissus, In This House of Brede, and Five For Sorrow, Ten For Joy are three of them.  Many of her books were made into movies; her 1946 novel The River became a Jean Renoir film in 1948.

Several of her books involved horses, including: The Dark Horse (1981), about an English racehorse in India and his English groom; The Diddakoi (1972), about a Gypsy girl whose adjustment to non-Gypsy life includes her beloved horse; and Mr. McFadden's Hallowe'en (1975), about a little girl and her pony.

Rumer Godden website

Other editions:

1977 Scholastic paperback; cover by Veronika Hart


Saturday, December 22, 2012

That Donkey (1954)

That Donkey
Georgianna, il. Dorothy Grider
1954, Whitman Publishing Company

Summer hurried by, and then the cold winds blew the leaves from the trees.  His master threw an old blanket over him - it warmed his back and his tummy - but no one ever thought about That Donkey's lovely long ears.  They were cold!

A picture book about a donkey who finally finds a sympathetic listener in Laura.  She sets out to knit him a solution, which becomes his Christmas present.

About the author and illustrator
The author, with the one-name pseudonym, proved impossible to locate.   The illustrator (1915-2012) was a Kentucky native who wrote six books, illustrated many for other authors, and did designs for playing cards and paper dolls, among other products.  The collection of her work at the Kentucky Library and Museum includes Kim Novak paper dolls; per

Whitman's Tell-A-Tale books were little square board books published between 1945 and 1980. 

Wiki Muppet

Kentucky Library and Museum

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Gallant Colt (1954)

Gallant Colt
William Campbell Gault, il. Pers Crowell
1954, E.P. Dutton and Company

I remember that the first time I saw Jeff, I thought he was a hobo.  I was down in the south pasture checking the gate that opened on the road there.

Denny Nolan is the 16-year-old adopted son of Colonel and Mrs. Randall; Jeff is the young veterinarian who’s too handsome and too electric to for his own good.  As Mrs. Randall says, “Everybody likes him, and I guess that’s not always good for a man.”   These two, and the golden dun colt called Earnest Endeavor, end up on the road together, seeking to launch the temperamental Endeavor on a racing career. 

Jeff was shaking his head and smiling.  “A great horse and a good boy aboard and a big stakes race.  Can you think of anything more exciting than that, Denny?”

At first, under Denny’s steady gaze, Jeff manages to work hard and stay straight.  But after their first victory, his weakness for good company and cards pulls him into a ruinous game.  Denny, shattered despite everyone’s warning and his own innate understanding of Jeff’s character, struggles on with one hope of getting back to his earlier plans of running their horse in the big race. 

The drawback of writing a charismatic character is that by definition, charisma is unaccountable and needs to be experienced in person to be felt.  Jeff’s wastrel charm is unconvincing, but Denny’s blunt understanding is very believable.   The action has the relentlessness of your average sports fiction, but moves well, and the characters are sometimes surprisingly fleshed out.   It’s worth a read.

About the Author
Gault began in pulp novels, used at least two pseudonyms and was extremely prolific in two genres – teen sports novels, and private-eye detective novels.  A complete list of the latter can be found at the links below.  None appear to be horse-related.  Originally from Milwaukee, he ended up in California.  He was married with at least two children.

While researching the author, I discovered he has a good reputation for his mysteries.  This was one of a long list of teen novels Gault wrote about various sports, and it shows in the droning on about the details of the game.  It seems to have appeared twice as a short story in magazines in the late 1940s, and I wonder if that contributed to the sense of disjointedness about it. 

The art is by Pers Crowell, but there's only a cover and a frontspiece, and my copy lacks a cover, so you will need to search online for that image. 

Wiki page
A forerunner of Gallant Colt appeared as a short story in the August 1949 issue of Short Stories magazine.

About his mystery work
The Thrilling Detective Website
Allan Guthrie’s Noir Originals
Mystery File – Bill Pronzini on Gault

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Bea Dare, American Saddle Colt (1946)

Bea Dare, American Saddle Colt
Pers Crowell, author and illustrator
1946, Whittlesey House, McGraw Hill

This short book, lavishly illustrated, follows the early life of an American Saddlebred colt, Beau Dare.  

Although it is framed as a fictional story, this is basically a nonfiction book aiming to educate children about horses.  I didn't find it very interesting as fiction, and somewhat awkward as nonfiction.  The artwork is lovely.

The oddly sepia tone of the drawings was the only drawback.

The copy I read lacked a cover.  The inside covers more than made up for this.

Also by Pers Crowell (as author)
First To Ride (nonfiction)
What Can A Horse Do? (nonfiction)
Cavalcade Of American Horses

Illustrated by Crowell (horse)
Cherokee Bill, Oklahoma Pacer by Jean Bailey
Wild Horse by Glenn Balch
Lost Horse by Glenn Balch
The Christmas Horse by Glenn Balch
The Midnight Colt by Glenn Balch
Skylark Farm by Joan Beckman
Golden Lady, The Story of An American Show Horse by Eleanor Brown
Wendy Wanted A Pony by Eleanor Brown
A Horse For Peter by Eleanor Brown
Golden Mare by William Corbin
Silver by Thomas Clark Hinkle

The Whistling Stallion by Stephen Holt
Phantom Roan by Stephen Holt
Rain Cloud, The Wild Mustang by Margaret Kraenzle
The First Book of Horses by McLennan McMeekin

Midnight by Rutherford Montgomery
Big Red, A Wild Stallion by Rutherford Montgomery
Nez Perce, Buffalo Horse by William Sanderson
Black Beauty by Anna Sewell (abridged by Alice Thorne, 1962)
Golden Cloud by Leland Silliman
Golden Cloud In Texas by Leland Silliman

Horses, Horses, Horses (short stories, editor Phyllis R. Fenner)