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National Velvet: 11/28/07
National Velvet is another one of those books I've been meaning to read. As a child I enjoyed the 1944 film starring Elizabeth Taylor and Mickey Rooney. When I was reading books for the BookCrossing Literacy Train, I made sure to add this one of the pile to get some classics into the mass release.
Velvet Brown, the protagonist, finds herself the sudden owner of a group of horses through a series of unusual events. Of all the horses she falls in love with the most ornery, a piebald nicknamed "The Pie." With her new horse Velvet decides to out do her famous mother (who had swum the English channel in her youth).
With her mother's earnings and help from the son of her mother's trainer, Velvet sets out to do the impossible: win the Grand National. There are two problems: she's too young and the wrong gender.
When the National Velvet plot moves onto the Nationals and the fallout from Velvet entering, I was reminded of Babe: The Gallant Pig by Dick King-Smith. The Sheep Trials which Babe wins are a wonderful parody of the melodrama that is the fall out from Velvet's participation in the Grand National.