Author: Vinnie Tortorich
Art: Polly Holabird
Publisher: National Horseman Publishing
May Contain Spoilers
I wanted to read Monty because it is about an American Saddlebred. There aren’t many books featuring ASB or saddleseat riding, so I was curious to see what this picture book was about. It turned out to be a pretty good read, about a horse that wanted to win, and the girl that helped him do it. It even got me a tiny bit choked up, because, gosh darn it, I want to show on the green shavings at the World’s Championship Horse Show, too!
Monty comes from a long line of champions, and everyone has high hopes for him being a winner, too. But Monty has a little problem. His hooves are brittle, so his shoes keep coming off during competitions. This makes him unhappy, and it makes both his owner and his trainer send him out to a pasture all by himself because they don’t want to spend time training a horse that can’t win anything. This made me sad, because a good farrier would have strapped bands across his hooves, helping Monty with his problem. But no, to build some suspense, he is isolated in a pasture all by himself, where he dreams of winning blue ribbons.
Along comes Molly. She is the trainer’s daughter, and she wants to be a great horse trainer like her mom. Nobody takes her seriously, though, and she isn’t allowed to help with the show horses. When Molly sees Monty sad and alone, she knows that he’s meant to be a champion, and she’s going to help him become one. She puts on her thinking cap, and starts pondering how to make Monty’s hooves less brittle.
I love Polly Holabird’s illustrations. Her Saddlebreds look just the way they should. Monty is a beautiful, bold mover, and you can really see that in her paintings. His face is so expressive, from his perky ears to his gentle eyes. More than anything, the art won me over. Or maybe I liked the book because Monty looks, maybe just a bit, like my Blondie.
Review copy purchased from Amazon