Title: Wonder Horse
Author: Emily Arnold McCully
Major Themes: Horses
Synopsis: A former slave taught his horse to spell and answer many questions.
A horse who could spell? True or imaginary? The subtitle of Wonder Horse is The True Story of the World’s Smartest Horse. Jim Key didn’t look like much when he was born. His owner, the former slave Doc Key, a veterinarian and successful businessman, was too distraught over his mare’s death to pay her foal any attention. The foal’s twisted legs kept him from walking, but in his desperation for some attention from his owner he managed to find a stick and ask Doc to play fetch. Once Doc’s interest was awakened in his young horse, he began to patiently teach him many tricks; the most famous was spelling words with cards printed with the letters of the alphabet.
Did the horse really spell? A team of professors from Harvard, according to the story, tested him and said he could. The historical note in the end of the book is interesting, though.
My little boys enjoyed this story very much, and I loved the illustrations. This is a lovely picture book for young horse-lovers, or any animal-lover.
Read Aloud—Ages 3 – 4, 5 – 8
Reading Independently—Ages 7 – 9