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Condition: Used: Very Good
Comment: Very Good used copy: Some light wear to cover, spine and page edges. Very minimal writing or notations in margins. Text is clean and legible. Possible clean ex-library copy with their stickers and or stamps.
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Black Diamond and Blake Hardcover – February 10, 2009


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Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

Grade 1–3—Black Diamond, a prize racehorse, is sold to a prison horse-care program after he is injured and can no longer compete. He feels abandoned by the human family he has always worked to please, but he gets a second chance at happiness when he meets Blake, the inmate chosen to care for him through the rehabilitation program. The two form a close bond, but then Blake finishes his sentence and Black Diamond's care is given over to two insensitive inmates. "For days, weeks, and months, Black Diamond looked for Blake." Just when the horse has given up hope, the man returns with enough money to purchase him and take him home. Beautiful dry pastel illustrations in warm tones harken back to a time of Art Deco, the Golden Age of cinema, and WPA murals. Told from the perspective of Black Diamond, the sensitive story sometimes borders on sentimentalism, but it is genuinely moving, so these moments are easy to forgive. This unique tale, distinctly set in the past and based on actual contemporary work-rescue programs, offers children a vision of hope for the discarded animals and humans of our society.—Madeline Walton-Hadlock, San Jose Public Library, CA
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From Booklist

Telling the story of an imaginary racehorse named Black Diamond, presumably in the 1920s or 1930s, this picture book is a nostalgic and touching tale of second chances inspired by real events. After losing his winning edge, Black Diamond is shipped off to a prison, where inmates are offered the opportunity to care for and look after animals. Blake (in prison for the hard-to-blame act of stealing to help his family) forms a special bond with Black Diamond, but then is released and forced to leave the horse in the cold and sometimes abusive care of other inmates. Eventually, Blake returns for Black Diamond and takes the horse to his new home. The soft-focus art features quaint scenes of Black Diamond’s journey from the track to a home, anchored by a strong sense of a bygone time. Telling the story from the horse’s point of view meets with middling results, but the human-animal bond is a timeless theme and will evoke empathy in children. Even if they aren’t horse lovers to begin with, they’ll be touched by the sentimental ending. Grades 1-3. --Ian Chipman
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Product Details

  • Age Range: 3 - 7 years
  • Grade Level: Preschool - 2
  • Lexile Measure: 870L (What's this?)
  • Hardcover: 40 pages
  • Publisher: Knopf Books for Young Readers; First Edition edition (February 10, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0375840036
  • ISBN-13: 978-0375840036
  • Product Dimensions: 11 x 8.7 x 0.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 14.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,463,078 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Deborah Blumenthal is an award-winning journalist and nutritionist who writes books for children and adults. She has been a regular contributor to The New York Times (including four years as the Sunday New York Times Magazine beauty columnist), and a home design columnist for Long Island Newsday. Her health, fitness, beauty, travel, and feature stories have appeared widely in many other newspapers and national magazines including New York's Daily News, The Washington Post, The Los Angeles Times, Bazaar, Cosmopolitan, Woman's Day, Family Circle, Self, GQ, and Vogue.

Her latest picture book, THE BLUE HOUSE DOG, was the winner of the Missouri Show Me Readers Award for 2012-2013.

Blumenthal is the author of four young adult novels: FAT CAMP, THE LIFEGUARD, MAFIA GIRL, and her most recent YA novel, A DIFFERENT ME, published by Albert Whitman & Co. on September 1st.

Blumenthal lives in New York City.

visit her on the web at:
www.deborahblumenthal.com


Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By M. Allen Greenbaum HALL OF FAMEVINE VOICE on August 31, 2009
Format: Hardcover
This story opens like a burst of horses through the gate, then quiets as a formerly indomitable racehorse faces an uncertain fate as age and injury take their toll.

Deborah Blumenthal's opening sets the stage for the book's bittersweet nostalgic tone, while captures the thrill of horseracing:

"Once there were crowds, and clinging jockeys, and horse to ride against in the razor-fine seconds it took to be first accross the finish line. Black Diamond covered the ground like a shock wave, winning races again and again."

"Razor-fine seconds..... like a shock wave...." THis is no ordinary writer, and Blumenthal writes with grace and detail, creating memorable characterizations of Black Diamond and the horse's caregivers.

Th plot turns on the indifference of Black Diamond's owner once she stops winning. A new program that teams retired horses with prison inmates prevents her expected demise, providing rehab. for the convicts and a new life for the horse. While one inmate is blase and another cruel, there's one man who truly loves for her: Blake, a young man whose only crime was stealing bread to feed his hungry family. (Quelle Miserable!) The two could very well be the poster horse and man for the program, and when Blake is released, he acts like he doesn't love Black Diamond--to dull the pain of leaving her.

There's a sentimental shampoo-commercial reunion (Black Diamond and Black actually break out "into a full-out run " towards each other and Blake "pressed his forehead against Black Diamond's quivering neck.") that's a bit over the top, but otherwise the prose is top-notch. The illustrations--all classic California/Art Nouveau nottled golds, blues, tangerine, and purple--evoke a dusky light, but almost every picture is at dusk.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By TeensReadToo on February 24, 2009
Format: Hardcover
BLACK DIAMOND & BLAKE is a beautiful story of trust and friendship.

Black Diamond is a champion racehorse. He receives treats, praises, cheers, and flowers after his many wins. He runs his heart out for his racetrack family. Each race he vows to win for them.

He loses his first race, by just a little, and receives no praise or cheers. After he stumbles in another race and hurts his leg, he hears "Boo" from the audience and is left alone.

After that race, a man, stinking of smoke, comes and buys Black Diamond. Black Diamond is nervous until a soft voice leads him to the horse trailer, saying he's going home. But Black Diamond is home - and he doesn't know what is happening to his world.

Black Diamond finds himself behind prison walls, literally. For him, it's truly a prison...he's used to running free. He has become part of the Thoroughbred Retirement Foundation. The Foundation rescues retired racehorses and pairs them with prisons to help develop bonds between the horses and the inmates. Black Diamond is reserved and hesitant until an
inmate, Blake, befriends him.

They spend time together every day, but when Blake is released, Black Diamond is worse off than before. It's only when Blake comes back for him that Black Diamond truly find his home.

I found BLACK DIAMOND & BLAKE a bit sad, so overly-sensitive children may be upset by the story if they don't make it to the happy ending. But the bond that Black Diamond and Blake form is truly special, and the story will leave you feeling loved and treasured by the last page.

Ms. Blumenthal presents the information about a true foundation in a unique perspective, one that children will come to love and will want to read about over and over again.

Reviewed by: Jaglvr
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Sherbyland on May 30, 2009
Format: Hardcover
Author Deborah Blumenthal has taken a difficult subject, the fate of a losing racehorse, and rendered a heartwarming tale of survival and even redemption. With rich characterizations of both the horse and a prison inmate who finds new life by caring for it, she tells a story for all ages. Miles Hyman's illustrations add a lushness to the story. As director of a film about the same topic ([...]), I can assure you she has done a great job in bringing to life the positivity which can result from bringing society's outcasts together.
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Book Lover on February 25, 2009
Format: Hardcover
This is a beautiful and sensitively told story about how men and animals can save each other's souls.
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