|Step right up : how Doc and Jim Key taught the world about kindness|
Author: Bowman, Donna Janell
A picture book biography of Dr. William Key, a former slave and self-trained veterinarian who taught his horse, Jim, to read and write and who together with Jim became one of the most famous traveling performance acts around the turn of the twentieth century.
Download a Teacher's Guide
|Accelerated Reader Information:|
Interest Level: LG
Reading Level: 5.30
Points: .5 Quiz: 185164
|Reading Counts Information:|
Interest Level: 3-5
Reading Level: 6.30
Points: 3.0 Quiz: 69846
Kirkus Reviews (+) (08/01/16)
School Library Journal (10/01/16)
Booklist (+) (09/01/16)
The Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books (00/12/16)
The Hornbook (00/01/17)
Full Text Reviews:
Booklist - 09/01/2016 *Starred Review* William “Doc” Key’s was a life of contradictions and accomplishments. He was born a slave in 1833 but was educated by his master; he served the Confederates during the Civil War, and the Union after he was free; he was a self-trained veterinarian whose liniments and cures were nationally known. But most of all, Doc is remembered for the way he nourished a sickly colt named Jim to life and then taught him to spell and recognize words, do math, and perform numerous other feats. His strategy: positive reinforcement through kindness and rewards, which, at the time, was unknown in the treatment of animals. As the pair traveled, Doc often faced discrimination, particularly in the South, but he quietly championed racial equality by refusing segregated seating at his shows and by performing in many of the country’s traditionally white venues. Stunning hand-painted linoleum block print illustrations by Coretta Scott King Award winner Minter are awash with color and light, as from a stained glass window, and capture the nuances of Doc and Jim’s life together perfectly. The narrative’s quiet tone conveys a sense of respect for Doc’s life and legacy, while back matter offers an extended biography, archival photos of Doc and Jim, and source notes. This beautiful picture-book homage to Doc and Jim is nothing short of enthralling. - Copyright 2016 Booklist.
School Library Journal - 10/01/2016 Gr 2–6—A profile of William "Doc" Key and his relationship with animals, specifically his skilled horse Jim. Key was born a slave in Shelbyville, TN, in the 1830s. After the Civil War, he stayed in Shelbyville and built a veterinary where he sold his homemade remedies, and became very successful. Referred to as "Doc" Key, he traveled extensively while pursuing various entrepreneurial goals. Key eventually trained a clumsy colt named Jim to amaze audiences with his uncanny ability to spell and do math. He donated portions of his proceeds to humane societies and was instrumental in raising awareness for the compassionate treatment of animals. Minter's linoleum block prints, painted with acrylic, add the perfect historic feel to an incredible true story. The extensive back matter will be useful for student reports. VERDICT A solid purchase for most collections with an interest in biographies and animal rights.—Jennifer Steib Simmons, Anderson County Library, SC - Copyright 2016 Publishers Weekly, Library Journal and/or School Library Journal used with permission.