Did you know that Man o’ War, the very famous American race horse, was a direct descendent of the original Godolphin Arabian stallion in England in the mid 1700s? Marguerite Henry, who wrote many wonderful books about horses, such as Misty of Chincoteague and Justin Morgan Had a Horse, tells the story of the Arabian stallion Sham, who was given by the king of Morocco as a gift to the crown prince of France, and his mute groom Agba. The two were mistreated in France until Sham was purchased by a kind English Quaker, but after going to England they again fell on hard times before Sham was bought by the Earl of Godolphin. Through it all, Agba stayed with the horse. Although Sham never got to race himself, he was finally recognized for the thoroughbred that he was and became the foundation sire for a great line of race horses.
We did this as a family read aloud, and everyone enjoyed it. There is little objectionable, although one reviewer noted, “Cruelty to animals present, both through demeaning speech and treatment….this particular title should be kept from sensitive children.” In this sense, it is somewhat similar to Black Beauty. King of the Wind won the 1949 Newbery Medal, and anyone who loves or even admires horses should like it.