Friday, November 21, 2008

The Last Black King of the Kentucky Derby Crystal Hubbard Robert McGuire


The Last Black King of the Kentucky Derby by Crystal Hubbard and Robert McGuire.
I don't read too many history books. I know this means I am probably doomed to repeat everything, and sometimes it feels like I am but that still won't make me read more history books. However I love sports history especially when it pertains to Black athletes. This is the story of Jimmy Winkfield the last African American to win the Kentucky Derby. It wasn't until last year that I learned African Americans were Jockeys. In the forward of the book we learn that many of the slaves that cared for the horses became Jockeys and in 1875 when the Kentucky Derby debuted 14 of the 15 racers were Black. This is a great book, its filled with information about Jimmy Winkfield. It also tells the reader what happened to Black Jockeys. Even if you're not into horse racing you can enjoy this book. I loved how Hubbard described the races, its easy to imagine the horses on the track and the people in the stands. I would age this about five and up. There's a lot of text on the pages, the bright open illustrations will keep the younger kids attention. I really like Robert McGuire's illustrations. I love the back drop of the sky blue, sunset and earth colors. McGuire captures the action of the races perfectly, you can see the determination in the eyes of the rider and the horse. There' s a great picture of Jimmy Winkfield attempting to win his third straight Kentucky Derby. He's in front coming down the strength. Its a clean, beautiful and sleek. (Its actually the cover picture as well) In the afterword we learn that Jimmy Winkfield moved to Europe to continue racing when Black jockeys were kicked out of American racing. We also learn that Winkfield and his daughter were not allowed to enter through the front door of the Kentucky Derby in 1961 for a banquet. Though to end this on a good not I'll share the last part of the forward. In August 2004 Jimmy Winfield was inducted into the National Museum of Racing Hall of Fame, and in 2005 the Aqueduct Racetrack in Queens, New York, opened the Jimmy Winkfield Stakes.

Time to Share
Sweat stung Wink's eyes. He gritted his teeth and tuned out all the stomping and snorting around him. Leaning forward, he pushed Alan-a-Dale harder. The horse gave him everything it had. Wink-a-Dale crossed the finish line as the rest of the pack thundered past in a blur of browns, blacks and rainbow-colored silks.

1 comment:

Hannah said...

Glad you liked the book, Doret! We just posted an interview with author Crystal Hubbard, where she talks about why she was so fascinated with Jimmy Winkfield's story. You can see it here: http://www.leeandlow.com/p/crystal_hubbard.mhtml