Saturday, February 2, 2013

Wonder Horse by Emily Arnold McCully

 Wonder Horse: The True Story of the World's Smartest Horse by Emily Arnold McCully

Rating: 4 stars

I recently reviewed a really wonderful book for a local magazine.  Alex the Parrot: No Ordinary Bird was a book that landed in my lap but really opened my eyes to a bunch of great nonfiction books on animal intelligence that are fantastic for young, advanced readers.  Lorelei is reading chapter books, and she's worked her way through The Magic Treehouse, Cam Jansen, and Magic Schoolbus series.  But she's just 5 1/2, so I'm careful about the content of the books she reads.  And she still loves picture books, so I'm happy to keep supplying them to her.  Therefore, I was delighted to find a handful of books that were long and challenging and interesting...picture books.  And nonfiction!  Even better.

"I wonder what else you can learn," Doc said.
Wonder Horse is a long book about the true story of a horse owned by Bill Key, nicknamed "Doc."  Doc was born a slave but freed as an adult, and his natural way with animals remained with him.  He made a fortune selling Keystone Liniment for humans and animals, and spent some of that fortune on an Arabian mare.  He bred the extraordinary mare, who bore an ordinary colt named Jim.  Jim looked ordinary, but within months of his birth Doc realized he was incredibly smart.  He taught him all sorts of things--the alphabet, simple math, colors, shapes.  He quieted naysayers by having experts quiz Jim without Doc to help him out, and the two of them toured the country to show off and help promote kindness towards animals.

Of the books we've found and read on animal intelligence, Lorelei and Ben liked this one the best.  (Alex the Parrot gets my vote.)  Maybe they are just being nice, as they know that horses are my favorite animal...  Regardless, I love how interested they are at the fairly wild notion that animals have significant brain power like we do.  I appreciate how this book introduces scientific methods, but I like even more that their perspectives have been rocked a little, that their assumptions have been challenged a little.

No comments:

Post a Comment