Walter Farley Martha Bacon - Essay

Martha Bacon

(Contemporary Literary Criticism)

I am overwhelmingly prejudiced in favor of horseflesh, and I must admit to enjoying [The Black Stallion's Ghost] immensely. It opens with a stunning description of an exhibition of dressage and proceeds through a series of genuinely horrifying adventures in the Everglades involving a fetish called the Kovi. The Black Stallion is clever, brave, and good-looking, and as far as I can judge, honest, reverent, and clean…. [In] his artless horsey way he seems to me to carry on the satisfactory tradition of Black Beauty.

Martha Bacon, "Tantrums and Unicorns," in The Atlantic Monthly (copyright © 1969, by The Atlantic Monthly Company, Boston, Mass.; reprinted with permission), Vol. 224, No. 6, December, 1969, p. 150.

When [in The Black Stallion and the Girl], Alec Ramsay, the Black Stallion's rider, hires a girl to care for the horses on his father's Hopeful Farm, trainer Henry Dailey threatens to quit. Alec argues that sexism is as bad as racism, but to Henry, Pam is not only a girl, she's one of "those kids today" who want pie in the sky and have no respect for "dedication and duty."… Unbelievably hackneyed discussions, insipid love interest, and routing racing episodes disqualify the story.

"Younger Fiction: 'The Black Stallion and the Girl'," in Kirkus Reviews (copyright © 1971 The Kirkus Service, Inc.), Vol. XXXIX, No. 14, July 15, 1971, p. 739.