About the author
Justin Francis Denzel (1917–99) was born in New Jersey. One of his first jobs was to work on Civilian Conservation Corps projects in Alaska, after which he wrote for a paper sponsored by the US Forest Service. During World War II he received the Purple Heart in recognition for the wounds he suffered during The Battle of the Bulge. After an unsuccessful attempt to write an adult novel, he wrote (and published) many short stories for children. He also wrote 14 full length books, both fiction and non fiction. One of them, Boy of the Painted Cave, is still in print today, and was nominated for the William Allen White Children’s Book Award. He wrote two books for the Famous Animal Stories series: Hiboy, Young Devil Horse and Sampson, Young Stallion, both of which are illustrated by one of the greats of American equine illustration, Sam Savitt.
Finding the books
All the books are reasonably easy to find.
Links and sources
Some of Justin F Denzel’s papers are in the De Grummond collection
Terri Wear: Horse Stories – An Annotated Bibliography
Thank you to Lisa Catz for the summaries
Bibliography (horse books only)
Black Kettle, King of the Wild Horses
Garrard, 1974, illus Richard Amundsen
As King of the Wild Horses, Xerox, Connecticut, 1979
The colt Black Kettle was taken by the tribe in a raid on the settlers. Little Bear releases him,
and the horse grows up to lead a band of wild horses.
Hiboy, Young Devil Horse
Garrard Publishing Company, 48 pp, illus Sam Savitt (Famous Animal Stories series)
Amy’s grandfather was head trainer at a racing stable until an accident Stardust put him in a wheelchair. Now the gentlest mare in the barn has given birth to Stardust’s last foal, and everyone hopes it will have the speed of the father, but the temperament of the mother. Amy is put in charge of his care. It looks like he will take after Stardust, although he responds well to Amy. When the colt won’t let anyone on him, the owner of the farm orders him to be sold. Amy makes one more desperate attempt to prevent that from happening.
Sampson, Yankee Stallion
Garrard Publishing Company, 1980, 48 pp, illus William Hutchinson
When Axel‘s father leaves home to fight with the Patriot soldiers, he tells Axel not to let their old workhorse, Sampson, get into the hands of the British. Axel and Sampson help steal a cannon from the British, and pull it along treacherous and icy mountain trails towards Boston. Twenty miles from Boston, the old horse can go no farther. Sampson’s deeds are not forgotten, and he is given
an award by none other than General George Washington.