The subject of horses has been big lately around my house. After seeing and loving the film “Secretariat”, my kidlet and I rented “Seabiscuit.” Then just the other day “60 Minutes” goes and does a story about Zenyetta, who may be the greatest race horse ever. What? That can’t be! Anyway, all this horse talk made me remember how much I love The Black Stallion by Walter Farley.
Here’s a little wiki-history:
The first of 21 books in this popular series entitled The Black Stallion was published in 1941. The subsequent novels are about the stallion’s three main offspring – his firstborn colt, Satan; his second colt, Bonfire, and his firstborn filly, Black Minx – as well as about the Black himself. Along with the Black, the series introduces a second stallion that is considered the Black’s only equal – The Island Stallion, Flame. This is a separate storyline until Flame and the Black meet in two books – “The Black Stallion and Flame” and “The Black Stallion Challenged”.
The Black Stallion, known as “the Black” or “Shêtân”, is the title character from author Walter Farley‘s bestselling series about the stallion and his young owner, Alec Ramsay. The series chronicles the story of an Arab sheikh’s prized stallion after it comes into Alec’s possession, although later books furnish the Black’s back story. The Black Stallion series has been called the best in horse stories.
The Black Stallion (ages 9 and up) is the first in the series. Teen-aged Alec Ramsey and an untamed, apparently wild black stallion, age uncertain in the first book, are stranded on a desert island after their ship, returning from Arabia where Alec was visiting his uncle, sinks. Dependent on each other for survival, the boy and horse learn to trust and love each other as they establish an amazing life-long bond.
After being rescued, Alec befriends retired racehorse trainer, Henry Dailey, who lives near Alec. Henry recognizes the Black’s superior breeding, and he and Alec secretly begin training the Black to race. But without a documented pedigree, Alec and Henry can only compete as mystery horse in a match race between two champions, Cyclone and Sun Raider.
This is great out loud bedtime reading for both boys and girls because the characters are so sympathetic and the plot moves quickly keeping sleepy little brains engaged in the story. Of course, then there’s always Carroll Ballard’s beautiful 1979 screen adaptation called, as one might suspect, “The Black Stallion.” A fantastic friday family movie night choice.
I don’t exactly know what we’re gonna do now to get our horse fix at my house. Maybe Netflix some old episodes of “Mr. Ed.” I’m open to suggestions here, people.