cover image A Horse Named Funny Cide

A Horse Named Funny Cide

Funny Cide Team, , illus. by Barry Moser. . Putnam, $16.99 (29pp) ISBN 978-0-399-24462-9

This adaptation from the adult book, Funny Cide , may be a bit dense and repetitive, but this story of an unlikely Kentucky Derby winner—like its subject—has a big heart. From the start, the odds were against Funny Cide: he was born small, his parents were not famous racehorses, and his body was narrower than that of most racehorses. Yet "Funny ran freely on a path, straight as an arrow." This "skinny red horse with fire in his belly" was sold to a trainer and a group of his old high-school friends (who were "just looking to have some fun owning a horse—and not spend too much money doing it!"). But the hard-to-control animal faced more hurdles: he injured his shins, and a throat ailment made it difficult for him to breathe. Despite a trainer and a jockey who'd never won the Derby, however, Funny Cide landed in the winner's circle in Kentucky—then went on to win the Preakness (racing fans may be disappointed that the Derby race only gets two paragraphs, the Preakness, one). The chatty narrative includes some kid-pleasing nuggets: Funny Cide slept nose-to nose in a barn with two cats named Freckles and Tuna, and developed a taste for peppermints and doughnuts. Featuring lifelike equine and human portraits, Moser's (The Three Silly Billies ) sharply focused paintings capture the drama, grace and speed of this spirited horse. Ages 5-up. (Apr.)