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Reviewed by Emily-Jane Hills Orford for Readers' Favorite
“The sturdy horse was Boetie, Brother, or Vonk, undying Flame, the flame of hope.” Woltemade (“well made by God”) was his master, a dairy farmer. The two were connected, a man and a horse. When the storms off the coast of Cape Town raged ferociously, ships were tossed like matchsticks, the sailors on board doomed. Their cries for help reached the dairy farmer and his horse and the two dived into the waters time after time to save the sailors. They almost saved all of the sailors, but the fatigue and the cold were onerous burdens and the last attempt failed. But the two live on in spirit. Together. Always together. A statue in Cape Town commemorates the two brave souls.
Patricia Furstenberg’s Christian children’s story, Vonk the Horse: Spark, the Bravest Stallion of the 18th Century (Africa’s Bravest Creatures Book 2), is based on a true story. Accompanied by stunning photographs and images of paintings, the book tells a compelling story of a man and his horse and how, with God’s help, they overcame the forces of nature and saved fourteen sailors from an icy cold death at sea. The story is told in free verse, with eloquent metaphors and similes to describe the intensity of the storm that raged and the power of the bond between a man and his horse. The power of faith shines through as this one man and his horse confront impossible odds to save as many sailors as possible. This is a powerful story of undying faith against all odds and putting others before oneself, a valuable lesson for readers of all ages.