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Picture book biography, Grades 2-6 Accelerated Reader test available, Quiz No. 108586 EN

Perfect Timing

How Isaac Murphy Became One of the World’s Greatest Jockeys

Isaac Murphy was one of the greatest jockeys in the history of horseracing. But if it hadn't been for one lucky day in 1873, he might never have ridden at all. On that day, Isaac – a former slave – was offered the chance to ride a horse.

The moment he climbed into the saddle, his life changed. Isaac had a natural talent, winning races and setting records at a level no one had ever seen. Newspapers published splashy stories about his career and tremendous wealth. Reporters also took note of Isaac’s remarkable character. At a time when racing was a rough sport, he refused to cheat or get involved in violence on or off the track.

Perfect Timing tells the personal story of this remarkable person and ties it to United States history in the decades following the Civil War.


“Readers will love the atmospherics of flying dirt and surging horses." —Chicago Tribune

 “Perfect Timing tells the story of Isaac Murphy, the grandson of slaves who escaped a life of labor and poverty by turning a chance offer to ride a horse into one of the most successful jockey careers in the history of racing.” —Amazon

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Thrill In the ‘Ville

Doug Alverton believed that defending a soccer goal was the toughest job in the world. That was before a political campaign invaded his small town. Suddenly Main Street has disappeared in a blizzard of red, white, and blue, and the Secret Service seems to be keeping tabs on Doug's favorite neighbor. 

In this romp of a story set in a small Kentucky town, an All-American boy gets a new perspective on democracy.

Thrill in the 'Ville uses humor and a light-hearted tone to take young readers behind the scenes for a look at a small Kentucky town chosen to host a national election debate. With its exploration of election campaigns and comparisons between politics and sports, this novel fills a much-needed void in middle-grade fiction. 

Middle grade fiction, Grades 4-7 Illustrated by Elizabeth Thompson

Reviews + Honors

Thrill in the 'Ville has a fresh, smart, funny, and, yes, boyish tone. A kid can pick it up for fun. And for teachers, the book poses thought-provoking ideas about the political process and democracy without veering into dreaded, dry textbook territory.” —Jody Casella, blogger

Featured in the Central Kentucky civic literacy campaign