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Reading Children's Books as an Adult - the Things You See Differently

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  • #21
    There was a series of books with the same female character.

    Silver Birch
    Midnight Moon
    Golden Boy

    As I child I read them over and over, as an adult I think, "Where were the adults in that girl's life?"

    I loved the Black Stallion books, the Island Stallion, enjoyed but didn't love the Flicka books. I too HATED the Red Pony.

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    • #22
      when we read those books as kids, most of us had little or no idea of the real world and just loved horses and so wanted to be the characters in the books! I did always have more connection in the books written by real horsemen and could just sense it was more accurate. I have bought some old favorites off Ebay just to reread and get a chuckle out of!
      There have been lots of reruns on tv of old westerns and some of the horse stuff on there is now laughable compared to how we viewed it back then! I watched an episode of the Rifleman that involved the theft of a famous "steel dust stallion" Horse turns up at a dealer who has dyed him chestnut and sells him to the locals. Horse is a gelding, appers quite senior and pretty much average kind of guy. Still in all, kind of fun to watch with more knowledge than 40 years ago!

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      • #23
        I read The Black Stallion probably twenty times in my youth and loved it. My first year of teaching I had a low level 8th grade group for reading, mostly boys, and we read the book together.
        I was surprised at how simple the writing was, the poor dialogue, and how far fetched most of the story was. Of course the story was still enjoyable and my students read it and I even saw a couple of them pick up another book in the series.
        We also watched the movie as a test, they had to list a certain number of details that were incorrect. That was fun for all of us.

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        • #24
          I got my first pony at the same time I read Pamela and the Blue Mare, which has now become a high priced item on ebay. A friend found a copy for me and I re- read it recently and was amazed at what a great training tool it was. I remember trying to train my pony (later horses) exactly like Pamela trained the blue mare (which she named Frosty Morning) and how well the training plan worked for me through the years- even into my pro years. Now I realize it was Vladimir Littauers' wonderful program as he wrote it in "Schooling your Horse," which I also read. He was great on "stabilization," which meant first teaching your horse to travel calmly at all gaits on a loose rein. I never could get my sweet mare Goldie to walk, though. Jig,jig,jig. I should have called her Jiggy. ;-)

          In those days I was in Pony Club which also taught much the same methods as Littauer. My first pony was a red roan mustang so I named her Frosty Morning and here I am, all these years later- still honoring this book and my pony- going by the handle FrostyM.

          I hated the Red Pony and resent it being used in school. It is disgusting.
          Last edited by Frosty M; Feb. 16, 2014, 10:59 AM.

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          • #25
            Another hater of The Red Pony checking in here.
            America dialed 911. Donald Trump answered the phone.

            Stop pumping money into colleges and start getting ready to earn money in the projected tradesman shortage of 2024. Make Trades Great Again!

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            • #26
              The Red Pony - I forgot how bad it was and accidentally read it again with my son.

              I've read several other of my old horse books with him and notice the inconsistencies, etc, but try to just let them go to enjoy the story again.

              We just watched Billy Madison last weekend, in which Adam Sandler is forced to go back to school to "pass" every grade in two weeks. When he's in his first grade class the teacher reads a story about a puppy who runs away and in the end comes back home. Billy goes into an expletive-ridden rant about what was so wrong about the kid just sitting on the porch waiting for the puppy and not actively going out to look for it, put up signs, etc. It was pretty funny and a good example of how adults see things differently!

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              • #27
                Hated The Red Pony.

                "Golden Boy"? Rutherford G. Montgomery's "The Golden Stallion" and subsequent books?
                "Oh, sure, you may be able to take down one smurf, but mark my words: You bonk one smurf, you better be ready for a blue wave."---Bucky Katt

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                • #28
                  Honestly can not see how any of you can put "The Red Pony" on the same level as other horse books written for kids. Red Pony is written by Steinbeck, the literary great and is not designed for a child audience. I think the writing is powerful, and actually really enjoyed the book.

                  It's like poo-pooing the Grapes of Wrath, because it's not all rainbows and butterflies.

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                  • #29
                    Originally posted by batman the horse View Post
                    Honestly can not see how any of you can put "The Red Pony" on the same level as other horse books written for kids. Red Pony is written by Steinbeck, the literary great and is not designed for a child audience. I think the writing is powerful, and actually really enjoyed the book.

                    It's like poo-pooing the Grapes of Wrath, because it's not all rainbows and butterflies.
                    I think it's my hate relationship with short stories (I think it was in a collection of such that I read it)
                    Short stories tend to make zero sense to me.
                    Originally posted by BigMama1
                    Facts don't have versions. If they do, they are opinions
                    GNU Terry Prachett

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                    • #30
                      I loved the Thoroughbred series. I always wanted to be like Ashleigh or Samantha and grow up on a training farm. I also wanted to be like Christina. I have almost the entire collection, and when I went home last I reread a few. Lol Christina was such a brat and Parker was such and idiot.
                      Talking to some people is like folding a fitted sheet.

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                      • #31
                        ^ I loved the Thoroughbred series as a kid. I wonder what I would think of them now. Same for the Pony Pals series with Lulu, Anna, and Pam.

                        There was a book I read years ago about a boy becoming close to an old mare. I think the mare was gray and named Beauty. The boy's mom had known the mare as a girl. I remember it having a very sad ending involving a cattle guard. Does that ring any bells with anyone?

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                        • #32
                          Honestly can not see how any of you can put "The Red Pony" on the same level as other horse books written for kids. Red Pony is written by Steinbeck, the literary great and is not designed for a child audience. I think the writing is powerful, and actually really enjoyed the book.
                          Agreed. The Red Pony is not anywhere near The Black Stallion...just apples and oranges.

                          The closest thing between them would be the movie scores. The Black Stallion had brilliant cinematography and good musical scoring.
                          If anyone at all ever saw the movie of The Red Pony, the musical score was written by none other than Aaron Copland.
                          You're not going to hear many musical ensembles play Copland's Red Pony, though. I played it with a college wind ensemble (arranged with no strings).
                          There are parts that are REALLY obnoxiously top-heavy at first- flutes in their highest range, piccolo(s), Eb clarinets...no connection, or very little connection, to the bass. (Most of Circus March, and lots of Morning On The Ranch.) It sounds cacophonous and squeaky, even played by accomplished musicians, (and you can hear it from recordings conducted by Copland himself sound pretty much the same).

                          I have always thought that high, squeaky quality to the musical score represented a boy (and his own, little-boy world) who had no meaningful connection to his father or grandfather.
                          The boy trains the pony, and connects not with his father but with the hired man.
                          And the pony dies...and also the hired man's mare dies (though she lived, in the movie) to represent how that couldn't really work out, either.
                          The music toward the end of the movie is much more balanced, there is more bass and the highest instruments aren't all way up at the top of their range.

                          But anyway, yeah...Steinbeck wrote about some heavy themes.

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                          • #33
                            Originally posted by batman the horse View Post
                            Honestly can not see how any of you can put "The Red Pony" on the same level as other horse books written for kids. Red Pony is written by Steinbeck, the literary great and is not designed for a child audience. I think the writing is powerful, and actually really enjoyed the book.

                            It's like poo-pooing the Grapes of Wrath, because it's not all rainbows and butterflies.
                            I LOVE The Grapes of Wrath. It's one of my all-time favorites. I also love Of Mice and Men, The Pearl, Tortilla Flat, and Cannery Row, to name a few. Steinbeck is, by far, my favorite writer of his era. His writing is magical in it's realness.

                            I still hate The Red Pony.

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                            • #34
                              Originally posted by Sailboats View Post
                              ^ I loved the Thoroughbred series as a kid. I wonder what I would think of them now. Same for the Pony Pals series with Lulu, Anna, and Pam.

                              There was a book I read years ago about a boy becoming close to an old mare. I think the mare was gray and named Beauty. The boy's mom had known the mare as a girl. I remember it having a very sad ending involving a cattle guard. Does that ring any bells with anyone?

                              I believe it's called Beauty. And yes, the ending is horrific (IMO worse in some ways than The Red Pony because it is a lot more likely to happen).

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                              • #35
                                I own Beauty I've gone back and collected some of my favorites, that and The Crumb were top ones for me.

                                I still can't remember or find one I remember reading, a jumper named Cat Burglar maybe? And he was put down at the end, I think because he was vicious? Or something. I always thought the title was Look of Eagles. Anywho...

                                I remember reading one of the Black Stallion series, Black Stallion and Grey Lady or something like that, some creepy guy was desperate to breed his mare to the Black, and it got all weird. I was reading way above my age level, so I remember being very confused about a lot of it.
                                COTH's official mini-donk enabler

                                "I am all for reaching out, but in some situations it needs to be done with a rolled up news paper." Alagirl

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                                • #36
                                  Originally posted by dressagetraks View Post
                                  Same reaction here to LHOP.

                                  As a child, I remember being annoyed when My Friend Flicka got into Nell and Rob. I wanted to get back with Flicka and Banner and the horses. Rereading as an adult, I can appreciate so many more of the undertones in the story, how Rob was quite similar to Ken, actually, and feel sorry for Nell, trying to steady both of those two dreamers. I really think Flicka is not in fact a children's book. There is a lot of depth in there.
                                  My Friend Flicka and the rest of the series were, indeed, not children's books. I tried to read them when I was a kid but never truly understood them until I was an adult. Same applies to many books of that era that were relegated to children's stories.
                                  Founder of the Dyslexic Clique. Dyslexics of the world - UNTIE!!

                                  Member: Incredible Invisbles

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                                  • #37
                                    Originally posted by TheJenners View Post
                                    I own Beauty I've gone back and collected some of my favorites, that and The Crumb were top ones for me.

                                    I still can't remember or find one I remember reading, a jumper named Cat Burglar maybe? And he was put down at the end, I think because he was vicious? Or something. I always thought the title was Look of Eagles. Anywho...

                                    I remember reading one of the Black Stallion series, Black Stallion and Grey Lady or something like that, some creepy guy was desperate to breed his mare to the Black, and it got all weird. I was reading way above my age level, so I remember being very confused about a lot of it.
                                    Cat Burglar I remember... hmm. I want to say it was another Jean Slaughter Doty book. Unless it was actually in The Crumb?

                                    ETA: Just went upstairs and looked through my horse books and yep, it was The Crumb. He doesn't get put down though, the narrator brings him home and retires him.
                                    "Remain relentlessly cheerful."

                                    Graphite/Pastel Portraits

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                                    • #38
                                      Originally posted by TheJenners View Post
                                      I own Beauty I've gone back and collected some of my favorites, that and The Crumb were top ones for me.

                                      I still can't remember or find one I remember reading, a jumper named Cat Burglar maybe? And he was put down at the end, I think because he was vicious? Or something. I always thought the title was Look of Eagles. Anywho...

                                      I remember reading one of the Black Stallion series, Black Stallion and Grey Lady or something like that, some creepy guy was desperate to breed his mare to the Black, and it got all weird. I was reading way above my age level, so I remember being very confused about a lot of it.
                                      Wasn't it something like The Black Stallion's Ghost? And she was a baroque
                                      mare working in a circus? That was a strange one.

                                      Comment


                                      • #39
                                        I remember loving the horse action in the Walter Farley books, but even as a kid having to work a bit to believe that a what- 9 year old boy(?) could keep a horse in suburbia and train it + ride it in a race. I had a horse in the (country) back yard at that age......and it just didn't compute for me. I read ALL of them, though!
                                        As an adult I love the Black Stallion movie and have no trouble suspending disbelief while watching it. Go figure.

                                        OTOH, Mary O'Hara!!!! Read and reread her fine books while growing up, and still do. SO much more to them than the studio-laundered movie(s).
                                        My Friend Flicka
                                        Thunderhead
                                        The Green Grass of Wyoming

                                        In the same vein, if you love beautiful writing, try Enid Bagnold's "National Velvet". It's a wonderful read, and first and last, a girl-and-horse story.

                                        Not a bad movie at all, but in no way could it capture the loving and lovely descriptions of the English countryside and village life in pre-WWII Britain, or the depth of the family and community relationships that support and define a passionately horse-crazy young girl.
                                        Last edited by Hej; Feb. 18, 2014, 02:18 PM. Reason: bad typing!

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                                        • #40
                                          If anyone is looking for a horse POV type book, that has an engaging plot and is beautifully writtten your should check out Birth of the Firebringer. It is written for children but it is one of the few books/series that I have reread more than twice.

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