Step Right Up: How Doc and Jim Key Taught the World about Kindness Reviews

UPDATE TIME: 2018-04-24 
Review Score: 4 out of 5 star From 13 user ratings

" 4.25 Stars I will admit, this book was not a book was dying to read, but oh boy am I glad I did. Super interesting! If the horse did 'tricks' or was actually taught read and write it is still cool. The whole premise is that instead of beating a horse to act in fear, teaching the horse to move with kindness.

I heard a story similar to this about a horse in Germany and honestly I thought this was the book I was reading "Clever Hans" If I remember correctly the proved Clever Hans was coaxed, but still, a cool trick!

This book stands out because, a) former slaves makes good b)Animal Rights c) cool animals skills and or tricks, you can decide!! (our library doesn't own this book borrowed from another library)
" said.

"This is the second kid's book I've read about the horse "Beautiful Jim Key," and I'm pleased to pronounce it another winner.

Jim's caretaker Doc, a former slave, originally planned to race the Arabian horse. But Jim was born small and sickly, and in the course of nursing this weak foal back to health, Doc decided that Jim's friendship was far more valuable than accolades at the racetrack. Using gentleness and patience, Doc taught Jim a variety of humorous and amazing tricks, and their performances became legendary. Doc and Jim Key's shows were sponsored by humane organizations, and they used each performance to impart lessons about humane values and kind treatment of animals.

It's a message that is still so important today, and it's nice to see another gorgeous and well-written book promoting humane attitudes.
" said.

"It's always wonderful when a writer tells young people about an historic event in terms they can understand. Step Right Up is a book I picked up while at a writer's conference. I had the pleasure of meeting Mrs. Bowman, she helped teach a class for hopeful writers like myself. When she talked about her book I knew I had to pick it up, being a horse, and animal lover. The drawings were beautiful with a wonderful color pallet. But the story was amazing. I found myself wishing the book was much longer and detailed. Thankfully there is an afterword at the back that does give more details! Such a beautiful story and I am glad someone took the time to unearth it and bring it back to life for all ages to enjoy! I highly suggest this book to teachers and home school parents alike. " said.

"Wow! Doc Key was an amazing person. He was born into slavery and his owners taught him how to read. He ended up in the Civil War on the Confederate side as a medic, because of his healing skills. During this time, he was a spy for the north, as well as, helping other slave to freedom on the Underground Railroad. This book though, is really about his love for animals, especially his horse, Jim. He trained Jim to read and do math! They traveled through the North (as African-Americans were not welcomed in the south) and put on shows. Jim and Doc Key helped break down barriers between races and also educated people to be kind to animals. This was an amazing book that would be a great read for February-African-American History Month. It is a biography written for elementary and middle school age students, but accessible to adults, too. Don't miss it!" said.

"This is the true story of a man and his horse who made their mark in history.
William was an African-American born into slavery in Tennessee. As a boy he had a way with animals and was often sent to help other farmers' animals. By the time he'd become a young man he was trusted for his doctoring skills.
William rescued a horse and eventually also owned her new colt born in poor health. William did all he could to nurse the colt to health, earning the young animal's devotion. He named the horse Jim Key and began teaching him tricks.
Over time Jim Key, amazingly, could read, spell, do math problems, and identify many things. William and Jim Key became famous. William became a respected businessman responsible for the movement of awareness of the need for kindness of animals.
In this review I have only skimmed over the depth of this story. It's a fascinating and hard-to-believe story, but a true one. There is very interesting information included at the back of the book and the illustrations are great.
" said.

This story follows a freed slave, William Key who loves working with animals. His experience comes from during his time as a slave he traveled around to different plantations to take care of sick and wounded animals. When the Civil War ended and Doc was freed, he began to dream of breeding a winning racehorse. But those dreams were dashed when his colt was born weak and sickly. Although many people would have euthanized the colt, Doc nursed him back to health and named him Jim. After being freed, William breeds attempts to breed a race horse, but the horse is born sickly. However, he notices that the horse trains easily and responds to kindness, so he begins to teach the horse numerous tricks such as how to recognize letters, read, write, add, subtract, and more.
I thought this story was extremely interesting! I had never heard about this amazing horse, and I'm sure that students would love to read about this astounding horse. Also the book teaches the importance of patience and kindness towards animals and people, rather than cruelty.

" said.

"This is the story of William "Doc" Key and his educated horse, Jim Key. Yes, you read that right, an educated horse. Jim could read, spell, identify colors, make change from a cash register, file letters and more.

I think it is safe to say that Doc and Jim broke barriers. Doc was able to perform on stages that were only designated for Whites and when he performed in the south, he refused to do so for segregated audiences, making property owners change the rules.

This is an intriguing story. I think animals are intelligent in their own right, but to have such intelligence like this, on a human level, is something new. This horse could spell. He may not have been able to voice the letters or words, but he knew them. Doc and Jim led the way for humane treatment of animals. After seeing that animals are thinking, feeling beings, people begin to treat them better, but there is still more work to do. Today, the Humane Society and the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals are the leading advocates for animal rights. They have Doc and Jim to thank for that.

The resources in the rear of the book are divine. I will have to check them all out. I want to know more about William "Doc" Key and his life.

5 Stars
" said.

"The true story of how a man and his horse helped change the world for better! Doc was a former slave, who after the Civil War became a successful veterinarian. On his travels he buys/rescues an Arabian mare and nurses her back to health. Imagining he could get an amazing racehorse out of her, he has her breed and sure enough she has a foal! However, the foal is sickly and obviously not cut out to race, so Doc has to nurse him to health too. While spending so much time with the foal, who he named "Jim Key", Doc realizes that Jim is very smart and starts to teach him. At first it's just tricks, but soon Doc is teaching Jim how to recognize letters, numbers and colors and before long, they are on the road showing others Jim's amazing talents!

There are so many ways this could have gone too far, but it doesn't. Doc had one point to make with Jim, kindness is a better teacher than fear and they make that point well! (Loved the story of Jim and the newspaper guy who didn't have a treat for him!) This would be a great story to pair with Sewell's Black Beauty, either as a contrast or as an "answer". Highly recommend for animal lovers!

As a bonus note, Doc Key was a really amazing person and I would recommend reading the bio in the back and am a little disappointed I'd never heard of him before!

Content notes: No issues; negro is used as the time period correct word for describing African-American people, but the author has a note on this as well to help the readers understand it. (Bravo, Ms. Bowman!) And though mistreatments of animals and people are mentioned they are not detailed or shown.

" said.

June 2018 New Book:

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