Friday, December 25, 2015

Flying Roundup (1957)

Flying Roundup
Genevieve Torrey Eames, il. Lorence F. Bjorklund
1957, Julian Messner, Inc.

The noise grew louder and around the base of the mountain came a small band of horses, manes and tails flying and a cloud of dust swirling about them, kicked up by their galloping hoofs.  Johnny’s heart raced at the sight.  The leaders started into the valley, halted and swerved away again.  Then, above the hoofbeats, came the roar of a motor and a small yellow plane swung into sight, following the horses and flying so low it seemed almost to skim the brush and willows along the stream.  As the horses hesitated it circled out to head them off and then roared up behind them, sending them in a mad stampede up the valley.

Johnny Shaw is dozing, postponing the end of a camping trip, when he sees a roundup of wild horses, dominated by an airplane.  The scene is brutal – the terrified herd runs down and crushes a foal, and the cowboys frankly tell Johnny that the wild horses being driven into a truck are destined for a cannery – but Johnny’s torn.  The pilot is the father of his two best friends, Dan and Linda Cameron.  Vern is newly home from Korea, and trying to use his Air Force skills to tide over his new ranch.  Johnny recognizes the family’s genuine need, but when he spots an overlooked band of wild horses, he heads into the hills to find a way to get them moving before anyone else spots them.

There are two kinds of children’s books – those where the villains are the villains, and those where the villains are really just people you don’t know well enough.  This is the latter.  Johnny comes to understand where Vern’s coming from, and how the money from his flying roundups is intended for good, and somehow the early scene with the agonized foal is overwritten.  It’s not very satisfying. 

About the Author

Other books by Eames (horse)
Pat Rides The Trail (1946) il. Dan Noonan
A Horse To Remember (1947) il. Paul Brown
The Good Luck Colt (1953) il. Paul Brown
Ghost Town Cowboy (1957) il. Paul Brown

Other books by Eames (dog)
Handy of the Triple S (1949) il. Paul Brown

Short Stories
Jarvis Discovers Gold" appears in the anthology Horses, Horses, Horses: Palominos And Pintos, Polo Ponies And Plow Horses, Morgans And Mustangs edited by Phyllis Fenner
Someday I’ll Race Him in Young Wings – the Magazine of the Boys’ and Girls’ Club

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