Review by School Library Journal Review
K-Gr 3--Bennett tells the story of Zippy Chippy, a racehorse born in 1991 who never won a race in his entire career yet still garnered legions of fans. Though a poor runner, he became depressed when he didn't race. After Zippy Chippy was sold in 1995, his new trainer Felix kept working with him despite his difficult behavior. Felix was ready to give up until his daughter managed to befriend the animal. Zippy Chippy kept racing and even gained popularity among gamblers and racetrack visitors despite his abysmal record (0--100). His perseverance in the face of the odds endeared him to the public. Even after he retired and moved to a farm for retired racehorses, he was the most beloved horse among the lot. The cute cartoon illustrations match the amusing narrative, making this a fun story for sharing. VERDICT For general purchase where horse books are popular.--Heidi Grange, Summit Elementary School, Smithfield, UT
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Review by Kirkus Book Review
The true story of a racehorse that failed to win a single contest.Thoroughbred racehorse Zippy Chippy comes from exalted bloodlines. But racehorse genes notwithstanding, Zippy is slow on the track and, the narrative implies, not terribly competitive. "Instead of running, Zippy sometimes stood perfectly still." However, when he did (finally) finish a race, he "would prance off the course, head and tail held high." So it's confusing when the story then tells readers that his owner, Felix Monserrate, "felt that Zippy needed a winto boost his morale" and tries various ways to turn Zippy into a winner. Zippy continues to race, and the quirky, pokey horse becomes a crowd favorite. At Zippy's last race, his 100th, he takes a momentafter the starting bellto bow to the crowd. (He finishes last.) Author Bennett's ending salvo, "it takes guts to compete [and] courage to dream.[Y]ou can loseand still be a winner," is rallying, but the body of the story doesn't quite get there, instead placing more emphasis on Monserrate's attempts to turn Zippy into a winner rather than validating Zippy's quirky personality. Szalay's full-color illustrations have a lively, angular appearance with well-thought-out perspectives and effectively utilize both full-page and double-page spreads. Monserrate is Puerto Rican, and other humans depicted are diverse.Humorous enough in both text and illustrations, but the message is muddled. (author's note, bibliography) (Informational picture book. 4-8) Copyright Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.
Copyright (c) Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.