Wednesday, November 18, 2009

King of the Wind

Sea Biscuit, Man o’ War and War Admiral were all extraordinary race horses that could trace their sire line back to one special stallion. That stallion is the origin of the Thoroughbred. Marguerite Henry tells a romanticized version of his life in King of the Wind: The Story of the Godolphin Arabian.

Sham, one of the Moroccan Sultan's many fine horses, is sent as a gift to the king of France with his mute Muslim stable boy and five other prized Arabians. When they arrive in Paris, they aren't much to look at after being starved by a cruel ship captain and then enduring a grueling overland trek. To add insult to injury, King Louis XV mocks the Arabians small size, as the preferred breeds in Europe were much larger. More misfortunes ensue for both horse and boy, including cart pulling for the horse, prison time for the boy, and exile for them both after Sham makes time with a beautiful mare, Lady Roxana, who was intended for a prize stallion at The Earl of Godolphin's Estate. But close to two years later Sham's offspring wins every race imaginable. So Sham and the boy, Agba, are retrieved from their swamp home and Sham is finally prized for the rest of his days. This is an enjoyable story for anyone, but is a must read for all horse lovers.

Awards: 1949 Newbery Medal Winner

Ages 9-12

Activity: Can you match the breed of horse to their country of origin? To make your own poster, print this link (two legal size horizontal pages), and with color pencils, color the name of the horse breed the same color as it's place of origin. Color all of the horses and the map and cut everything out and glue on poster board. Shannon used a half sheet of standard poster board.

Here is Shannon's poster.

Shannon made the words Shetland Pony yellow and that
breed's country of origin, Scotland, yellow as well.

As stated earlier, the Godolphin Arabian is on Seabiscuit’s pedigree. And speaking of Seabiscuit, what a fabulous movie! It is an incredible yet true horse racing story that happened during the Great Depression. A down on their luck horse, jockey, trainer and owner came together to form an unbeatable team and provide inspiration to a down on their luck nation. Full of heart. I highly recommend it!


  1. My daughter and I love Marquerite Henry, and we have this book, but haven't read it yet. Love these ideas. :)

  2. Thanks Jamie. I'm sure you and your daughter will love King of the Wind :)

  3. What a great sounding book... and project! Thanks for the idea.

  4. Great idea! I blogged about this and it will appear on Dec 7, 2009.

  5. This printable is fantastic. I assume you created it? Thanks! I'll be linking to this on my BF History of the Horse lens.