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Old Bones the Wonder Horse by Mildred Mastin…
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Old Bones the Wonder Horse (edition 1983)

by Mildred Mastin Pace, Illustrated by Wesley Dennis (Illustrator)

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160774,566 (4.22)7
Member:audreyj
Title:Old Bones the Wonder Horse
Authors:Mildred Mastin Pace
Other authors:Illustrated by Wesley Dennis (Illustrator)
Info:Scholastic (1983), Paperback
Collections:Your library
Rating:*****
Tags:None

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Old Bones the Wonder Horse by Mildred Mastin Pace

  1. 20
    Man O'War by Walter Farley (stacyinthecity)
    stacyinthecity: Man O War raced at the same time, though never against, Exterminator (Old Bones).
  2. 10
    Crazy Good: The True Story of Dan Patch, the Most Famous Horse in America by Charles Leerhsen (SunnySD)
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This is an old favorite that I loved when I was 8 or so. My battered old paperback edition & another both gave up the ghost when my kids read them, so I've been without for years. Can't recall the last time I read it myself or to/with one of the kids. Then I won an Ebay auction & the seller couldn't find the book she sold me, so let me choose another from her offerings. I found this, an old hard back lacking the dust cover.

It was a very quick & easy read with quite a few excellent charcoal sketches by [a:Wesley Dennis|441088|Wesley Dennis|https://www.goodreads.com/assets/nophoto/user/m_50x66-e89fc14c32a41c0eb4298dfafe929b65.png]. (He is best known for his sketches in [a:Marguerite Henry|10652|Marguerite Henry|https://d202m5krfqbpi5.cloudfront.net/authors/1200683797p2/10652.jpg]'s books such as [b:King of the Wind: The Story of the Godolphin Arabian|423156|King of the Wind The Story of the Godolphin Arabian|Marguerite Henry|https://d202m5krfqbpi5.cloudfront.net/books/1329982839s/423156.jpg|2236675].)

Pace tells the tale of Exterminator (aka 'Old Bones') one of the best race horses of the early 1900's. He won the 1918 Kentucky Derby which is only for 3 year olds at 30-1 odds since he only raced twice as a 2 year old &, unsurprisingly, didn't do well.

If you don't know anything about Thoroughbreds or racing, the impact of some of the facts surrounding this upset will probably escape you. He was born 30May1915, so was a late foal & grew to 17h. 2 year old horses, especially the big ones, often have soundness issues racing because they have a lot of growing left to do. They're like very young teens & racing is very hard on them. Also, being a late foal meant he was racing against others that were months older - a big difference at that age - since all TB's have Jan 1 as their birthday for racing purposes.

Anyway, he was a dark horse & went on to be one of the best. Unfortunately, he was a gelding, so kept racing until he broke down at the age of 9, in his 100th race. He won over $250,000 over his career. For more details & spoilers, Wikipedia has a short article on him here:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Exterminator_(horse)

Pace does anthropomorphize & cutsey up the story a bit, but she pretty much has all the facts right, at least the Wikipedia page & the book are fairly close. It was a great read, although I'm not much for the cutsey treatment.

He was a great horse that is still remembered fondly by those who love horse racing. In May of this year (2013) Eliza McGraw did a piece on him for the New York Times Horse Racing Blog & this book is one of her fond memories of him.
http://therail.blogs.nytimes.com/2013/05/02/exterminator-a-long-shot-to-remember...

He even has a Facebook fan page.
https://www.facebook.com/pages/Old-Bones-the-Wonder-HorseExterminatorWorlds-Fastest-Horse/173897032660407

I guess that says it all. If you get a chance, take an hour or so & read this book. You won't regret it. If you need an excuse, buy it for a kid since it's perfect bed time reading material.

Warning: May cause horse craziness, a very expensive habit.
;-)

Additional note: I gave 'Old Bones' to my boss to read. He's very into horse racing & also liked the book. He said the differences in racing really made an impression. He's about the last person anyone would think of to like a kids book, too. I could tell he didn't really want to read it, but he said once he started, he blew right through it & didn't want to put it down. I doubt any book has received higher praise than that. ( )
  jimmaclachlan | Aug 18, 2014 |
This is just a little children's book about the great racehorse Exterminator. It contains very little detail, and not a lot of facts. Mostly it imagines the feelings and thoughts of the horse as he rises from obscurity to become one of the most famous horses of the twentieth century. ( )
  Pferdina | Feb 20, 2013 |
A sweet kids book that tells the true story of Exterminator. Exterminator was a Thoroughbred born in 1915. He was a rather gangly looking horse and no one really thought much of him. However, one trainer did eventually see him run and thought he had potential. This is Exterminator's rags to riches story.

The story has been simplified for children and some details are changed to highlight the drama of his life, but it rings true in spirit.

While suitable for any child that loves horses, it is really geared towards the younger side of those reading chapter books. Man O War, who ran at the same time as Exterminator, has a wonderful book written about him by Walter Farley, but if that book is above the reading level of your child, this would be excellent to tide the child over. ( )
  stacyinthecity | Nov 3, 2010 |
Old Bones is a really cool horse. I love this book!
  Harvey123 | May 7, 2009 |
A very interesting, informative, inspiring story of a work horse proving himself as one of the best racehorses of all time. A true story that really made me smile. ( )
  Heather19 | Apr 19, 2009 |
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