We gave it a B+
Most famous horses are remembered for their athleticism. But who needs speed when you’re a veritable equine Einstein like Jim Key, an Arabian-Hambletonian cross known at the turn of the 20th century as the smartest horse in the world? Like Seabiscuit, Beautiful Jim Key chronicles the adventures of a great horse and the men who loved him; owner/trainer Bill Key — an ex-slave, self-taught vet, and entrepreneur — and promoter Albert Rogers, who used Jim as ”a diplomat for his kind,” a spokeshorse against animal cruelty. Despite some repetitive anecdotes of Jim’s performances (he spells! he counts!), Mim Eichler Rivas’ engaging story is filled with eyebrow-raising details: Was the seed for a theme-park empire planted when Walt Disney, age 2 1/2, attended the 1904 World’s Fair that featured Jim Key in his own pavilion?