I finally finished Smoky the Cowhorse! Before I launch into any commentary, it is necessary to dispel a popular misconception people have when they hear the title. Smoky is not a genetically altered creature that’s somewhere between a cow and a horse. He is 100% horse, used for cow rearing purposes.
The Stats: I read a total of 180 pages in 4.5 hours, which is pathetic, but then again, I did doze off last night for a spell while Smoky wintered on the range…
The verdict: I would not have finished Smoky if it weren’t for 1) my goal to read all the Newbery books 2) bragging rights 3) the 48h book challenge.
The Good: The author, Will James, was actually a cowboy. He loved being a cowboy, and it shows. He was also a great artist, and his sketches are probably the liveliest thing about his book.
The Bad: James employs a tell, not show style of writing. Also, Smoky’s character is uncannily similar to that of the CareBear from Toy Story 3, except we’re supposed to be completely sympathetic towards Smoky.
The Ugly: Some aspects of this story really do not age well. The cruel characters are usually “dark complected humans” referred to as “the halfbreed” or the “hombre.”