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Smoky, the Cow Horse

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Title:Smoky, the Cow Horse
James, Will   
(1 of 2 for author by title)
Smoky, the Cow Horse
James, Will   
(1 of 2 for author by title)
Smoky, the Cow Horse
Published:   1926
Publisher:Charles Scribner's Sons
Tags:fiction, horses, juvenile, Newbery Medal, film/TV adaptation

The 1927 Newbery Award, Smoky, the Cow Horse, is narrated in the cowboy vernacular of the 1920’s. It details the life of a horse in the western United States from his birth to his eventual decline. Smoky is born in the wild, captured and trained and becomes known as the best cowhorse around. However, Smoky is stolen by a horse thief, beaten repeatedly as punishment, and eventually attacks and kills the thief.

When Smoky is eventually captured, his violent and aggressive demeanor prompts his use as a bucking bronco at a rodeo under the moniker of “The Cougar”. Years of performing take their toll on his body and spirit. He is renamed “Cloudy” and used as a riding horse and sold to an abusive man who starves him. During this time, he is reunited with his original owner and taken home. With careful treatment, Smoky recovers his former health and personality.

Illustrated by the author and adapted to the screen three times as Smoky. Will James narrates the 1933 version. [Suggest a different description.]

Pages:156 Info

Author Bio for James, Will

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Will James (1892-1942) was a French Canadian artist and writer. He was born in St-Nazaire-d"Acton, Quebec as Joseph Ernest Nephtali Dufault. His family moved to Saskatchewan where his father taught him about horse wrangling. He emigrated as a young man to Nevada but he was arrested for cattle rustling. While in prison he concentrated on improving his artistic talent, something he had begun as a teenager. He left prison and move to California. After a short stint in the army he began making a living as an artist and wrote western fiction for young boys. He also changed his name to Will James. Many of his books are self-illustrated. In 1927 he won the Newbery Medal for excellence in juvenile fiction for his book, "Smoky, the Cow Horse". The story is about a wild horse who is captured and tamed. Trained as a working horse, Smoky has many adventures in the west. (Nevada Writers Hall of Fame, Nevada Encyclopedia)

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