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by Wesley Dennis,Marguerite Henry

No one thinks much of Black Gold because he is so small. But Jaydee sees something special in his eyes. He knows Black Gold would be great if he was his rider! Finally, Jaydee gets his wish. And Black Gold grows strong and fast under his careful hands. Soon it would be time for the most important race in America. Did they really have what it takes to win? Black Gold's inspirational story proves that the power of love and dedication can make any dream come true. Set against the thrilling and colorful world of Thoroughbred horses, Black Gold is the true story of this legendary horse and his determined young jockey.
Download Black Gold epub
ISBN: 0689715625
ISBN13: 978-0689715624
Category: Children
Subcategory: Animals
Author: Wesley Dennis,Marguerite Henry
Language: English
Publisher: Aladdin; Reprint edition (April 30, 1992)
Pages: 176 pages
ePUB size: 1206 kb
FB2 size: 1402 kb
Rating: 4.5
Votes: 690
Other Formats: lrf docx doc lrf

Title: Black Gold

Author: Marguerite Henry

Genre: Fiction


As a big horse lover, there may be some bias in this review in favor of
the novel Black Gold, written by Marguerite Henry. But whether I like
horses or not, I think I would've thoroughly enjoyed this book either way. For readers that have read Henry's work before, it is quite hard to miss her writing style. Even though I normally prefer a crisp, fast paced writing piece, Henry's writing approach for her novels fit perfectly. This has all the characterstics of being a classic among horse lovers (and perhaps it already is.)

The novel starts off with people from all over the country converging to see a race. Very quickly, readers are introduced to a thoroughbred mare named U-see-it. She's a small horse--whispy looking, short compared to other horses and nobody thinks she's going to win any race. And she doesn't. But Al Hoots, a kind hearted man, still sees potential in her. She has a spirit that other horses lack (I know, I know, that probably sounds a bit cliche.) So Al trades 80 acres of land for the little horse that almost but didn't win a race.

Next, readers are transported to the New Orleans and introduced to Jaydee, a wannabe jockey. Ever since his father passed away at age seven, Jaydee found himself working long hours to help keep the family together. However, during his free time he enjoys sneaking to the race track and day dream about being a jockey.

Black Gold, the name of the main horse character in the book, is introduced a bit later. He's the colt of U-see-it. As I mentioned before, Black Gold isn't mentioned right fact his first appearance in the book is on page 84 out of a 173 page book. Yep, that's right; less than half of the book has Black Gold in it. But that's alright. Normally I get frustrated when it takes too long for a novel to get into the action (I usually give a book 50 pages to secure my interest.) But the background information/build up to the introduction of Black Gold was so skillfully done I enjoyed reading about U-see-it, Al and Jaydee's life before Black Gold came into the world.

​In fact, I felt like I grew more attached to Black Gold because as a reader, I grew rather fond of U-see-it. Plus, as a reader, I get to watch Jaydee transform from a wishful teenager to a determined young man.

One of my favorite aspects of Henry's writing style is that her sentences are very clear cut and concise. There is not beating around the bush. Yes, there are descriptive words, but each one is carefully chosen and no space is wasted. Oh, and speaking of space, the book is filled with wonderful pictures that really brings the story to life.

The simplistic and wonderful world building combined with pictures truly brings to life life in the early 1900's in America. Below are some quotes that really highlight Henry's writing style (I know I keep on referring back to her style--but it bears repeating. It really stands out compared to other author's. I feel like 80% of the books out there have the same generic writing style. I'm not saying it's a bad thing, but it makes distinct writing really stand out.)

"Jaydee's dream, like the dream of Al Hoots, was only in its beginning stage. Yet their dreams ran parallel to each other like the hard, shining track of a railroad."

"As U-see-it crunches the peppermint, Al Hoot sizes her up, thinking. So wispy she is, and little. Nothing to make one take notice--her coat is mud brown, like Oklahoma ditch water in spring, her tail and mane sparse. Nothing to set her apart. Nothing except maybe she's just coming into power. Else why that knowing, eager look?"

*excellent background setting
*can really see character development
*explore human nature--like greed (what happens when you just want more and more?)

*almost cried at the'll see why when you read it
Uh-oh. A horse book. As a kid, I always avoided horse books. They were the kinds of titles plucked up by fellow girls for the purpose of indulging their pony-laden fantasies. I never read "The Black Stallion" or "Black Beauty" or any of the classic equine titles out there. I read "Equus", but I don't think that counts. Then I decided to read all the Newbery award winning books I could get my hands on. That meant getting my hands on a copy of "King of the Wind". Fortunately, I've found that the older I get the more prejudices acquired during my youth are sloughed off with every book I read. With "King of the Wind" you get a thrilling one-horse history based on a true story. Though not the most satisfying of children's novels, kids reading the book will find themselves rooting steadfastly for this, the original underdog.

Quiz Question of the Day: Where in early 18th-century were some of the finest horses in the world raised and bred? If you answered Morocco then you are correct. At the time of this story, a mute stableboy by the name of Agba witnesses the birth of a most unusual foal. Born with a white spot on his foot (a good sign) and a wheat ear (a bad), the horse is named Sham by the boy and under the child's care grows healthy and strong. The horse is so impressive that it is only one of six sent as a gift (with horseboy Agba in tow) to the King of France himself. Unfortunately, this marks the true beginning of Sham's troubles. A malicious sea captain starves the animals and they end up looking very poor gifts indeed. Sham becomes an unruly workhorse. Then he's separated from his boy and given to an uncommonly cruel man. Boy and horse are reunited (and a cat comes along as well) only to pass from a kindly Quaker to a thoughless innkeeper. Our heroes together weather jail, banishment, and all sorts of ills until Sham's talent is finally discovered at long last... sort of. Though Sham never runs a great race (as any normal horse book would have him do) he sires some mighty-fine offspring who win all the races they're entered into. Happy ending for all.

Well, maybe "happy ending for all" is a bit much. The book's focus, should anyone forget it, is not supposed to be the Muslim boy, Agba. Author Marguerite Henry's choice of making him mute isn't too surprising when you think about it. After all, the fact that no matter what country he ends up in he manages to understand the language is shaky ground at best. If he can't talk then he can't suddenly burst into fluent French when the moment calls for it. Also, he can't get out of tricky situations (like his unfair jail time) and is a perpetual victim as a result. What struck me as particularly odd, however, was the end of the book. Agba's fate is reduced to a single sentence. After Sham's death Agba goes back to Morocco. End of story. Guess we know who the real hero in this tale is, huh? This is especially frustrating when you consider that you've been rooting for this kid for roughly 173 pages. To just drop him at the end without further to-do is harsh, to say the least. I mean, we're talking about one of the first Muslim heroes in children's literature. Surely that counts for something? Consider, after all, that this kid is banished from a beautiful home at one point and forced to practically starve in a cold scary fen at another. Then, at the end, the horse's newest owner tells the boy that all is forgiven and no hard feelings for making you live like a common thief, eh? Why the boy doesn't end up just the tiniest bit bitter is beyond me. I wonder if a kid of European blood would've been treated in a similar manner? Methinks, not so much.

And while I'm thinking about it, the ending's a little odd as well. That, however, I'm a bit more lenient with. Since this is based on a true story, Henry was limited in what she could or could not embellish. Most books in which a racehorse is ignored for his true talents end with that horse winning a big race at the tale's end. Not so here. Sham never wins a single race (aside from unofficial ones in Morocco). Instead, he simply sires more and more fast horsies, thereby "winning" by indulging in a most natural horse-like activity. Still, if that's what actually happened then who am I to complain?

I enjoyed this book thoroughly (in spite of my petty snipes). Henry knows how to write a gripping tale, full of soaring highs and truly awful lows. If you've a child with an affinity with horses, make sure that they won't feel too out of sorts when they see Sham beaten continually and abused in consistently awful ways. Animal cruelty aside, "King of the Wind" is one of those Newbery winners that kids (if they skip the Prologue chapter) will get into immediately. Consider pairing it with another boy-tending-a-great-horse book "The Star of Kazan" by Eve Ibbotson.
This book was given to me when I was barely eight years old, almost thirty years ago. I learned how to read books that took more than one sitting with "King of the Wind".
The story is of a mute Morrocan stable boy, Agba, and a foal, Sham, who is born to one of the royal mares Agba cares for. Sham...and Agba...are selected to be part of a gift to the King of France. Their adventures in Europe are filled mostly with despair and cruelty, until Sham sires a foal that becomes the beginnings of the Thoroughbred breed we know today (this part is true; Sham was renamed "The Godolphin Arabian"; all Thoroughbreds must include in their pedigreeone of the three specific founding sires, and the Godolphin Arabian is one of them).
There's a lot here: adventure, triumph over adversity, a respect for other cultures, the care of the creatures that share our lives, and a healthy dose of humor about the absurdities of the powerful or elite.
As a kid, I eagerly devoured any Marguerite Henry book I could find. It's well worth it to get hard-cover editions that include the wonderful full-color illustrations by Wesley Dennis.
Bad Sunny
I had read this book lovingly and repeatedly as a child.
Marguerite Henry is a wonderful writer, pulling you into the story with her eloquence, as well as the charming, intricate drawings done by.... Roy? I'm not quite sure!
As usual, most of her inspiration is based in reality, bringing to life the history of the horse.
This is the story of "Black Gold", an influential racehorse with a strong heart. It chronicles his story from before birth to his incredible racing career.
You really get to know the characters intrinsic to his life.
I do love the depth of her writings, making for good reading by children and grownup children as well!