Wednesday, September 29, 2004

Seabiscuit (Race horse)--1930-1940.

Seabiscuit by Laura Hillenbrand, 2001
I have worried and suspected that I had lost my ability to read "grown up" books. Children's books are usually so well written that my eyes and mind slip through the pages easily and with great enjoyment.

When the movie Seabiscuit arrived at theaters I saw and enjoyed the film. People told me they had not liked the movie as much as the book. Not having read it, I did not fully appreciate their comments or passion. Now I have read Seabiscuit.

This book is a triumph for Laura Hillenbrand. Her writing is compelling and beautiful. She draws fine portraits of Charles Howard, Red Pollard, Tom Smith and Seabiscuit himself. Through her artful storytelling the reader sees the horse’s personality as clearly as the other players in the tale.

Now, Book Moot website is devoted to children's and young adult literature. Seabiscuit was NOT written for children but parts of the story beg to be read aloud to the family.

Hillenbrand's reenactment of the match race with War Admiral must be the most exciting eleven pages I have ever read. The tension, the anticipation, the fear, the cheers and pandemonium of the crowd are brilliantly crafted. As a reader, I was there, in the mind of trainer Tom Smith. I was then seeing the race through the eyes of the jockey, George Woolf, who, interestingly, suffered from Type 1 diabetes. Finally, I was shrieking deliriously with the crowd as the horses pounded around the track.

This amazing book will go on my absolute favorite-books-of-all-time list. What a stunning achievement!

There are books about this remarkable horse for young readers. I am dying to get my hands on Seabiscuit vs War Admiral: The Greatest Horse Race in History by Kat Shehata, illustrated by Jo McElwee. There is also A Horse Named Seabiscuit (All Aboard Reading. Station Stop 3) and Come on Seabiscuit! by by Ralph Moody, Robert Riger.
I have Seabiscuit Fever!

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