HOME SCHOOL BOOK REVIEW
Book: Son of the Black Stallion
Author: Walter Farley
Illustrator: Milton Menasco
Publisher: Yearling, reprinted in 1991
ISBN-13: 978-0965476041 Hardcover
ISBN-10: 0965476049 Hardcover
ISBN-13: 978-0679813453 Paperback
ISBN-10: 0679813454 Paperback
Related website: http://www.randomhouse.com/kids (publisher)
Language level: 2
(1=nothing objectionable; 2=common euphemisms and/or childish slang terms; 3=some cursing or profanity; 4=a lot of cursing or profanity; 5=obscenity and/or vulgarity)
Recommended reading level: Ages 8 – 12
Rating: ***** 5 stars (EXCELLENT)
Reviewed by Wayne S. Walker
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Farley, Walter. Son of the Black Stallion (published by Random House in 1947; republished in 2002 by Yearling, an imprint of Random House Children’s books, a division of Random House Inc., New York City, NY). Alexander William (Alec) Ramsay lives in Flushing, NY, with his father William and mother Belle. In The Black Stallion teenaged Alec, returning from a visit to his uncle in India, and an untamed, apparently wild black stallion, age uncertain, are stranded on a desert island after their ship sinks, and after being rescued, Alec, with retired racehorse trainer Henry Dailey, runs the Black as a mystery horse in a match race. In The Black Stallion Returns Alec learns that an Arab sheikh legally owns the Black and comes to take the horse back to Arabia, but Alec follows the pair and encounters great intrigue, ending with a promise by the sheikh to give Alec the first colt sired by the Black.
In Son of the Black Stallion, Alec, now in college, receives the Black Stallion’s first offspring as a gift, naming him Satan, and believes that his dreams have come true to win another race. However, Satan’s savage arrogance and wild nature make him dangerous and unpredictable. Still, Alec, aided by HenryHHhhHH, is resolved to gain the fiery colt’s trust, even if it means risking his own life. What will the final outcome be? Most horse lovers and readers of horse stories will enjoy the book. The story line flows well. There is no bad language, except that a couple of times Alec’s Italian-accented friend Tony says “Dio mio,” which literally means “My God” but could be translated “My gosh.” Some people might object to Henry’s rough treatment of Satan in trying to tame him, but everything works out all right in the end.
The next book of the series, The Island Stallion, introduces the stallion Flame, found on a desolate Caribbean island by a boy named Steve Duncan, and his archaeologist friend, Pitch, that is considered the Black’s only equal. This is a separate storyline until Flame and the Black meet in two later books, The Black Stallion and Flame, and The Black Stallion Challenged. Book #5, The Black Stallion and Satan tells how that after Alec inherits The Black, he has an opportunity to discover which stallion—the Black or his colt, Satan—is the fastest, as the two must try to outrun a forest fire. Subsequent books are about the Black Stallion’s other offspring, his second colt, Bonfire, and his firstborn filly, Black Minx.