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Perfect Timing: How Isaac Murphy Became one of the World's Greatest Jockeys Hardcover – September 21, 2006


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Product Details

  • Age Range: 7 and up
  • Grade Level: 2 and up
  • Lexile Measure: 840L (What's this?)
  • Hardcover: 32 pages
  • Publisher: Viking Juvenile (September 21, 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0670060836
  • ISBN-13: 978-0670060832
  • Product Dimensions: 0.4 x 9 x 10.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 14.4 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,468,283 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

Grade 2-5–This picture-book biography describes how 12-year-old Murphy, the grandson of slaves, accepted a chance offer to ride a racehorse in 1873 in Lexington, KY, changing his life forever. He became one of the most successful jockeys in history, holding records that remain unbroken to this day. The exciting depiction of a match race in 1890, an event for just two horses and riders, concisely captures the action and drama of the sport. Trollinger's prose style is clear but not oversimplified, and she does not sidestep the issue of the eating disorder that led to Murphy's death at 35. An author's note explains that Murphy's perfect timing pertained not only to a horse race but also to his career. If he had raced 20 years earlier it would have been as a slave, and 20 years later, racial discrimination had forced most black jockeys out of racing. Lagarrigue's russet-hued oil paintings are vibrant and full of movement. This interesting biography is unique in its historical perspective on race relations and sports.–Ann Robinson, Moultonborough Academy Library, NH
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From Booklist

This picture-book biography, Trollinger's debut title, celebrates a legendary African American jockey. Using the jockey's "perfect timing" as a framework, Trollinger begins with a serendipitous moment, when Murphy was 12, that started his career. Off-track scenes, such as Murphy's marriage, appear, but Trollinger focuses on Murphy's rigorous training and the thrilling races, described in moment-by-moment detail. The straightforward text will read aloud well, and the subject will interest boys and girls alike. Lagarrigue's elegant paintings wonderfully enhance the story. As in his illustrations for Deborah Wiles' Freedom Summer (2000), for which he received the Coretta Scott King/John Steptoe Award, the images reinforce the story's sense of looking back through time with blurred, abstract acrylics, which, like memories or historical stories, only capture part of the picture. Kids will be drawn particularly to scenes on the track, spiked with the color of bright silk uniforms, which evoke the speed and the excitement of both horse and rider. A note adds more historical context about African Americans in horse racing. Gillian Engberg
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved

More About the Author

Patsi B. Trollinger grew up in the hill country of northeast Tennessee in a family that loved stories and books. By the third grade, she was interested in writing, and as a high school student she worked as a teen journalist for the Kingsport (TN) Times-News. She eventually fashioned a career out of words, creating stories about the people whose lives were intertwined with small liberal arts colleges. They included a deaf quarterback who led his hearing teammates to a 10-1 football season. A wealthy alum who used his considerable wealth to buy an entire island and try to found his own nation. And dozens of ordinary people who routinely said and did extraordinary things. Those stories gave Patsi an ear for character and voice, which now is reflected in the books she writes for young readers. Her first book, PERFECT TIMING, was honored as a Junior Library Guild selection and a CCBC Best of the Year. She currently is completing another biography and two middle-grade novels.

Customer Reviews

4.4 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

By Richard A. O'Driscoll on October 2, 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
A very well written book. Please tell the author to keep writing good books! Ms.Trollinger has a way of making the words sing!
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Josephine on May 5, 2010
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
The story of Isaac Murphy is inspirational for all children but especially for children of African American heritage. This young man was a former slave who became a great jockey. His name continues to be in the record books even today! Children love the action involved with horse racing and are mesmerized by the lovely artwork. This is a must read historically and for pure enjoyment!
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Candie Moonshower on September 24, 2006
Format: Hardcover
In PERFECT TIMING, Patsi Trollinger has succeeded in encapsulating the fascinating life of Isaac Murphy, the grandson of slaves--and one of the all-time winningest jockeys in the world. From his first ride on Volcano, which earned Isaac his place in jockey school, through his wins at racetracks around the United States, his marriage, an all-important match between Isaac (and a horse named Salvator) and a horse named Tenny, his struggles in his later years, and his death at the young age of thirty-five in 1896, PERFECT TIMING delivers. Paintings by Jerome Lagarrigue compliment the lively story--an all-around beautiful book! I recommend this picture book biography wholeheartedly!
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Bruce Richardson on October 14, 2010
Format: Hardcover
This inspiring true story captivates young readers. Jerome Lagarrigue's original illustrations alone are worth the price of the book!
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