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Old Bones the Wonder Horse
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Old Bones the Wonder Horse

4.26 of 5 stars 4.26  ·  rating details  ·  2,203 ratings  ·  34 reviews
"This is the true, rags-to-riches story of Exterminator, one of the best-loved American horses. Old Bones, as he was affectionately called, came out of nowhere to win a Kentucky Derby and to run a hundred races before his retirement."
Hardcover, 119 pages
Published January 1st 1956 by Mc Graw Hill Co (first published January 1st 1955)
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Community Reviews

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Jim
This is an old favorite that I loved when I was 8 or so. My battered old paperback edition & another both gave up the ghost when my kids read them, so I've been without for years. Can't recall the last time I read it myself or to/with one of the kids. Then I won an Ebay auction & the seller couldn't find the book she sold me, so let me choose another from her offerings. I found this, an old hard back lacking the dust cover.

It was a very quick & easy read with quite a few excellent ch
...more
Joy H.
Added 1/3/14.
Jim of my GR group recommended this story as one of his childhood favorites. I bought it "used" online and enjoyed it very much. It's a warmly told story about a real champion horse named "Exterminator", and affectionately called "Old Bones". It was published in 1955 and is about 94 pages long with enjoyable illustrations.

The book won the Dorothy Canfield Fisher Children's Book Award (1957).

I liked it so much that I searched our local library catalog and found another good young ad
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Jen
Having lived in and around Louisville for a few years, and having many friends from that area, I can't not be aware of the Derby and of horse racing culture in general. So to find this story from when I was a kid and had no idea where Louisville was is delightful; again, the horse phase that didn't die. This is a great, quick read about a horse who is wonderful and people who believe no matter what--really, I'm surprised someone hasn't snatched it up to make the next Seabiscuit or Secretariat (n ...more
Marci
I read this book when I was a young girl and loved every horse book I could get my hands on. I still remember how admirable this horse's temperament and will were. I think I might read it again!
Sharon Leaf
My first book that I fell in love with over 55 years ago. Each year I wrote a book report about Old Bones and I still have the original book.
Carolyn
Other than Charlotte's Web, this was my very favorite book as a child. I think I read it five or six times, beginning in third grade. Obviously, I was a horse-crazy little girl! I happened to find a copy in the book sale room operated by the Friends of the Library in our local library. What a treasure! I enjoyed reading it as an adult just as much as I did when I was young. It is based on the life of a real race horse and is a well-written animal story. I am so happy I now have a copy that I can ...more
April Brown
What ages would I recommend it too? Six and up.

Length? An evening to read.

Characters? Memorable, several characters.

Setting? Real World, 1915 - 1945.

Written approximately? 1955.

Does the story leave questions in the readers mind? Ready to read more.

Any issues the author (or a more recent publisher) should cover? No.

Short storyline: A young colt goes from an exercise colt to the racer he wants to be.

Notes for the reader: Reasonably well written. Leaves out a few parts the reader might want to kno
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Stacy
A sweet kids book that tells the true story of Exterminator. Exterminator was a Thoroughbred born in 1915. He was a rather gangly looking horse and no one really thought much of him. However, one trainer did eventually see him run and thought he had potential. This is Exterminator's rags to riches story.

The story has been simplified for children and some details are changed to highlight the drama of his life, but it rings true in spirit.

While suitable for any child that loves horses, it is reall
...more
Feisty Harriet
I read this book as a kid and love love loved it. It’s basically the 100-page version of Seabiscuit, but about the racehorse Exterminator who raced in the 19-teens. It’s a really quick read, and after I read Seabiscuit I decided to pull this out and see how much of the story I remembered correctly. It’s charming, and definitely for a young reader (elementary school probably), but I loved it anyway.
Saori
I found this in the throw-away pile at my school and rescued it. I'm not usually a horse book person, but while my 7th-graders were taking their exams, it gave me something to do. I thoroughly enjoyed it. It personifies the horse from page one. It tells of his beginnings and overcoming prejudices from the racing community and even his owner and his surprise win at the Kentucky Derby.
Sheree
Jul 31, 2008 Sheree rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: anybody
I love this book. I have had it since I was a little child when my father would read it to me before bed.

It's a story of a racing horse that everyone thought couldn't cut it in the big leagues. Old Bones isn't a very pretty horse but he has the heart of a champion.

It's about facing challenges and doing the best you can do even though nobody has faith in you.
Michael Barnette
This was one of many horse related books that I read during elementary school. It's the mostly true account of a real race horse, Exterminator. I still own a copy of it, rather dogeared and a few pages torn, but mine all the same. It's a great read for 3rd to 6th graders--I actually read it when I was about 8-9 as I recall.
Racquel
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Beth
Short children's book about Exterminator, a famous American race horse from the early part of the 20th century. Not a lot of detail is included, and the horse is given emotions and thoughts that we couldn't possibly know if he had. Still it's a cute little book.
Dennis
The black stallion books introduced me to horse stories and this book expanded that interest to include non-fiction. A slight fictionalization of a true story that does a great job of drawing a reader in and capturing their interest.
Karen
Thanks to a co-worker who lent me this book, I learned the heartwarming story of Exterminator, aka Old Bones, an unknown horse who won the Kentucky Derby in 1918 and went on to become a racing champion. Delightful!
Danielle
This is a great children's book about an amazing racehorse that did what no one thought he could. The actual horse was real and did race until the old age of nine and won 50 of his 99 starts.
Carol Palmer
Read this book as a kid and loved his heart and his intelligence.
April Helms
Jan 16, 2008 April Helms rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: children
A must for children who love horses. This is a fictionalized account of Exterminator, or Old Bones, whose career included 100 races, and a Kentucky Derby win.
Lauren
Dec 03, 2008 Lauren rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Young Readers
Recommended to Lauren by: Third Grade Teacher
Absolutely GREAT book. I must for beginning readers who love animals. I read it in third grade and it is still one of my all time favorites.
Lauren
This was my favorite book when I was in second grade. I've reread this countless times, and that's saying something, since I hate rereading things.
Lara
I loved it. It was sad when Peanut died and when Bones retired after his 100th race. There are a lot of sad and happy parts.
Meg
I remember this book was one of my favorites...similar story to Seabiscuit. Can't have a heart and not be moved by this story.
Tara
I read this book when I was a kid and loved it! Horse books have always called my name and this is one of my favorites.
Peter
Loved this book when I was about 13, The love ones heart can have for a great animal / companion.
mart
A children's book about the Kentucky Derby winner, Exterminator. A great story.
Natasha
One of my childhood favorites. A great bedtime story book for the kids.
Gloria
another childhood favorite.... and I then dreamed of owning a horse.
Janet
easy reading, historical and children will love it
Snow
Always fantastically motivational and a fast (re)read!
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