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Smoky Knows Only One Way Of Life Freedom Living On The Open Range, He Is Free To Go Where He Wants And Do What He Wants And Being A Smart Colt, He Learns What He Must In Order To Survive He Can Beat Any Enemy Whether It Be A Rattlesnake Or A Hungry Wolf He Is As Much A Part Of The Wild West As It Is Of Him, And Smokey Can T Imagine Anything ElseBut Then He Comes Across A New Enemy, One That Walks On Two Legs And Makes Funny Sounds Smoky Can T Beat This Enemy Like He Has All The Others But Does He Really Want To Beat It Or Could Giving Up Some Of His Freedom Mean Getting Something Else In Return That S Even Valuable


10 thoughts on “Smoky The Cowhorse

  1. says:

    I woke up to a beautiful morning It was a stereotypical beautiful morning The sun was shining, there wasn t a cloud in the sky It was nice and cool We re in the middle of an pleasant Alabama spring, which lasts for like two weeks before the scorching heat sets in, and makes everything miserable until November By far, though, the most beautiful part about waking up this morning, was that, as of last night, I was no longer in the middle of Smoky the Cow Horse.I m finished Through I feel like a newly released prisoner, stepping out into freedom for the first time in years.I know it sounds like I m being dramatic, over exaggerating a little, but I really don t feel like I am I disliked this book that much.The first 1 3 of the book was tolerable I kind of liked seeing Smoky in the wild, it was a tad boring maybe, but it still had potential to maybe pull out a three star rating from me I didn t hate it in the beginning.Aesthetically, the second third of the book drove me crazy The author was obviously stretching the story out as far as he could take it He told us the same things over and over again, then he would give a little anecdote to illustrate the point, and then he would make the point again, almost like the In conclusion part of a 10th grade research paper Smokey was ornery towards other people He only liked Clint I figger that s cuz Clint was nice to him One day another man tried to ride him, and Smoky bucked him Smoky only liked Clint He was ornery towards other people It goes like that for many, many maddening pages.By the last third of the book, I was pretty much over it Any other book, I would have abandoned by this point, but I want to read through the Newbery winners, so I had to keep going It felt much like The Dark Frigate all over again I was tempted to just skim, but I stayed strong and slogged my way through James was still boring me and saying the same things over and over again, but I didn t have any real strong content objections to the book, just aesthetic ones.Then, all of a sudden, Will James got all racist on me I read a few reviews of the book before I started it, and I didn t see any mention of this, so it really shocked me It comes out of nowhere, you feel like you re getting to the end, you re gonna make it, and then BAM Will James jumps out and makes his boring redundant book, a racist, boring, redundant book I ll just let you see for yourself.There s this guy stalking a bunch of horses Smoky is in the group, and the guy s going to steal the horses The narrator, stops to describe the guy A half breed of Mexican and other blood thats darker he was a halfbreed from the bad side, not caring and with no pride It kind of slapped me in the face What did he just say The narrator doesn t call this character a man any after this From then on, he calls him halfbreed sometimes, but usually just breed for short The breed beat Smoky with a stick The breed tried to sell him etc.I kept on reading This breed is a pretty mean guy with no redeeming qualities It struck me that James didn t even do that with the horses There are good horses and bully horses in the book, but the narrator is sympathetic to them all The bullies have reasons to be mean The breed is only bad because of his skin color It seemed to me that James believed that people with dark skin were worth less than horses.A little while after I thought this, the narrator pretty much goes and says the same thing himself.He calls the guy a scrub of a degenerate halfbreed and not fit to be classed among humans There s another scene later in the book Smoky has become a cart pulling horse, and a man of a dark complexion is beating Smoky with a whip It would seem from reading this book that white people didn t beat horses Everyone else did Clint takes the whip and starts beating the guy The sheriff sees him, and tells him in a joking manner the book says he s grinning as he says it Say Cowboy don t scatter that hombre s remains too much, you know we got to keep record of that kind the same as if it were a white man, and I don t want to be looking all over the streets to find out who he was I ll just let that speak for itself.I read some reviews from other Newbery travelers, and they couldn t get past the western language and intentional misspelling in the book I didn t have a problem with that, at all It fits the tone of the book, and even seems a little poetic at times The other issues I had with the book totally eclipse that.I know that I m looking at things through a 2014 lens, but how did this blatant racism not make people uncomfortable, even in 1926 I know that it was a different time and people saw things and each other differently, so I accept that this book was publishable in 1926 It definitely wouldn t be now but the Newbery A committee of educated librarians thought that this was the best book of that year for kids If I ever heard my son calling someone a halfbreed, well, let s just say there would be very extreme consequences.I read somewhere that there are only two children s books that would have been eligible for the 1927 Newbery still in print Smoky and the 8th Dr Dolittle book Smoky wouldn t be if it wasn t for that medal A lot of the good children s books from this time were coming out over seas such as Winnie the Pooh, but come on Pick something else, anything else, in which the narrator doesn t demean a group of people, and treat them as if they are worth less than horses I know the eight Dr Dolittle book probably wasn t the best of the series, but is it racist No Ok, let s give it the medal.This is the first time I ve said this, but the 1927 Newbery committee let us down Big time The I think about this the upset I get I ve even thought about weeding this book from my library The only thing making me hesitate is that shiny gold medal on the front But to be honest, Smoky the Cow Horse has kind of taken some of the luster off of the Newbery for me I need to keep reading them, to get that specialness back They can t get much worse than this one, right Next up Gay Neck, the Story of a Pigeon


  2. says:

    So glad I m finally done with this book.The written in dialect thing is interesting, and occasionally even poetic, and I might have thought this was a fairly good book if it was really, really short But 300 pages of double negatives and other grammar mistakes was hard to wade through.As others have said, it does get interesting in the last 100 pages there s a story , but it s still not that great and there s a dreadful racial stereotype evil halfbreed Mexican African American, always referred to as the halfbreed or the breed that I can t really write off as being the times , because it s so pointed and vile Others have said it s sexist, but I don t agree about that the one female character is a well meaning horse girl , and I thought she was depicted with surprising insight and sympathy.I shudder to think what parents and teachers would say if a book with such bad grammar was awarded a Newbery today.


  3. says:

    I first read this book in the fifth grade oh, so long ago and I loved it I re read it every year until I graduated high school and loved it every time I m not sure I d still love it quite so much if I was reading it for the first time as an adult, as I haven t read it since, but I look on it with fond memories.If you have a horse crazy son or daughter, I would definitely add this book to their library, right next to The Black Stallion, Black Beauty, Misty of Chincoteague and My Friend Flicka Although you might want to have a parent y talk with them about racism, as the references to the half breed the major villain of the book obviously are very racist.


  4. says:

    There was so much life wrapped up in that pony s hide that it was mighty hard for him to settle down and behavehe sometimes had to bust out and do things that wasn t at all proper Smoky the Cowhorse, P.47 The poor horse had sure got a reason to be mean, and I guess he s at the point where he figgers no human is his friend any Smoky the Cowhorse, P 229 Wow My expectations for a book with the Newbery Medal on the cover are always sky high, but Smoky the Cowhorse meets those expectations and The plot is built with tremendous skill, and the laid back cowboy narration and Will James s illustrations fit the narrative perfectly The story fills me with every emotion possible, resounding throughout its 310 pages as few books do I am lucky to have read Smoky the Cowhorse For that pony had got tangled up in the cowboy s heartstrings a heap than that cowboy wanted to let on, even to himself He couldn t get away from how he missed him Smoky the Cowhorse, P 216


  5. says:

    I read this book to my little girl who is now 26 when she was in the elementary first learning to read.It s a good horse book telling the life of Smoky and that part I think is what fascinates children.How he starts off shy and timid.But when he s moved to the working ranch He toughens up gets stronger.


  6. says:

    Winner of the 1927 Newbery Medal, this children s novel about a mouse colored cow horse named Smoky has been favorably compared to that classic and pioneering pony story, Black Beauty , and I think the pairing is rather apt Both books follow the same basic narrative trajectory, beginning with a horse whose owners are responsible and kind, following him through his early years of prosperity and well being, his traumatic middle years, suffering at the hands of less enlightened human beings, and his eventual reunion, as a broken down older horse, with his original keeper companion Both books do an excellent job of capturing the horse s perspective, and both offer a moving portrait of their equine heroes and the humans they encounter.Of course, Smoky, The Cow Horse is set in the ranching country of the western United States, in the early years of the twentieth century, and Black Beauty in nineteenth century England While Black Beauty is a saddle horse to begin with, anyway , Smoky spends his first few years in the wild, before being broken as a working horse And my, how beautifully James captures that early time in Smoky s life, the dynamics of the wild horse herd, the instincts of a young colt The writing here is highly idiomatic a sort of western cowboy dialect that, while not correct English, has a poetic and highly descriptive quality to it Many readers seem to have had trouble with James language, but I found that, after a period of adjustment, it really resonated with me, and added to the beauty of the story.There are many things I enjoyed about this book, from the language to the characters, and I will not soon forget the understated pathos of the love that develops between Smoky and Clint, the cowboy who breaks the high spirited horse in, and becomes his only human friend The mistreatment that Smoky suffers, after being stolen by a brutal horse thief, and eventually turned into a rodeo attraction, was very difficult to read about, and even the happy ending, with its reunion of horse and man, can t quite take away its sting The illustrations done by James himself are absolutely delightful, although I found myself wishing that I had an older edition, rather than this 1970s reprint, so I could see them as color plates, rather than black and white reproductions.In short, this was in many ways an excellent book, and had it not been for one thing, I might have awarded it four stars And that thing, is the racism to be found in the portrait of the breed the mixed race horse thief who steals Smoky The constant references to his dark face complexion, the way this is tied to his brutal treatment of Smoky, seems too pointed to borrow a friend s word for it to be dismissed as simply of the times Especially when one considers that the inhumane vegetable seller who ends up owning Smoky Cloudy by then towards the end of the story, is also described as dark skinned When James describes the horse thief as a degenerate halfbreed and not fit to be classed amongst humans, it s a difficult thing to overlook.Thankfully, the section involving the horse thief I refuse to call him the breed is short But although I wouldn t say it was the focus of the story, the racism is pronounced enough that it is a real detraction from the book s appeal This is one I would recommend only to mature horse book lovers, who are old enough to have a discussion about the unfortunate racism to be found within its covers, either with a parent or a teacher.


  7. says:

    I read this book when I was 12 and it left a very lasting impression on me At one point in my life about 15 years ago I was in a book group and I said this book was one of my favorites My friends, under the influence of wine, laughed I was mortified Later, one of them who is a really GREAT friend bought me an original copy from an antique store which I treasure There is actually a Will James Society in Montana, so I think I am not crazy when I say that this book contributed greatly to my childhood development of EMPATHY Only Glenn Beck thinks empathy is a bad word If you haven t read this book, I recommend reading it to your children, ages 10 and above because it is sad But, like The Yearling, it is a classic I re read it to my own children in 1995 when I was going through emotional upheaval related to thyroid issues and because of that and I would end up crying while I read Don t do this.


  8. says:

    This book is about a cow horse named smokey it s written with western slang so you feel like your part of the book This story starts in Colorado, and slowly makes it s way down to New Mexico It all starts with an adventurous colt named smokey He is part of a loving herd along with his mom He gets in a lot of trouble, such as sticking his nose witch nearly gets scratched up by a wolf and having his mom save him Later in the book Smokey gets rounded up in a corral The bronc buster chooses him out of the herd The bronc buster Clint tames smokey so well that when Clint passed out on a morning run Smokey carried him back to the ranch The two become very good friends, and have a bond that no other rider could ever have with a horse To find out read the book , I highly recommend this book to anyone and everyone


  9. says:

    The illustrations are what set this edition apart Front cover pasteboard, front and back endsheets, and 6 color full page plates throughout the text The first reproductions of James oils His art makes all the difference His story isn t bad either sort of standard Black Beauty West but for a kid s book it s all good stuff I started out by reading animal stories I loved them and this Smoky is as good as it gets But then there was this jolt at page 257 Say cowboy, he finally says, don t scatter that hombre s remains too much you know we got to keep record of that kind the same as if it was a white man Pretty much an accepted view circa 1926 Maybe even could be considered progressive for the period of our shameful history The worst of it is that attitude is still to this day way too prevalent The Bad Guys there are several are both of dark complexion White Hat Black Hat ethics for the simple minded It s a shame he drank himself to an early grave His art and writing both suffered as the alcohol took over his life.When I was a little kid Cowboy was King I seem to be going through a spell of obsessing on the life and works of Will James First edition copies of his books are a tad expensive Just can t see buying a modern reproduction I want the feel of those ninety some years.


  10. says:

    I am so very glad to finally have this book finished Back during my horse book fetish of my early teens, I may have enjoyed this a bit It does have a very slow beginning, spending the first 150 pages on just repetitive trips across the range Unfortunately, not recommended for racism throughout the second half of the book I was expecting racism against Native Americans, but, it s actually Mexicans that get the brunt of the racism in this book You can be treated to the word halfbreed on about every other page and a rant from the sheriff about having to treat halfbreeds as it they were white The entire book is written in cowboy slang which feels so over the top that it lacks an authentic feel I can understand why this would have been popular at some point, who doesn t love a western horse story I used to adore them However, I would say this one has seen its day Now, if this was edited and abridged I would say it could be enjoyable The front half is too long and the back half too racist But, it would only take a few changes throughout to be enjoyable for modern children.