From School Library Journal
Starred Review. Kindergarten-Grade 3—McCarthy tells one of the most famous stories in horse-racing history through stylized cartoon illustrations that convey the excitement of the track. Many of the oil paintings are made to look like snapshots in a photograph album with sepia-tinged backgrounds and black corner mounts. The easy-to-read text delivers facts about Seabiscuit's "family"—his owner, trainer, and jockey—and about the big race. An author's note provides interesting anecdotes about each person involved in Seabiscuit's success and demonstrates how the underdog became a champion. This dynamic book is ideal for social-studies units on the Great Depression, and, as an engaging read-aloud, it could generate discussion on perseverance, kindness toward animals, and determination. While perhaps not a must-have, it will be enjoyed by a wide audience.—Nancy Baumann, Indian Paintbrush Elementary, Laramie, WY
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“Seabiscuit-itis” is a rare topic for children’s books, but the saga of this underdog, er, horse, makes a compelling story for kids. Here, McCarthy provides a lively if diffuse introduction to the famous animal; his owner, trainer, and jockey; and the excitement he gave to Americans during the Great Depression. McCarthy’s stylized acrylic art is less successful here than in previous offerings, often appearing too static for illustrations about racing. Regardless, young horse lovers will be attracted to the visual caricature of Seabiscuit and cheer him on through this courageous triumph-over-adversity tale. The book’s climax is, naturally, the big race against War Admiral, and the happy ending is followed by extensive author notes and a list of sources that includes a link to a video of this 70-year-old battle full of drama and exhilaration. Grades 1-3. --Andrew Medlar