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King of the Wind: The Story of the Godolphin Arabian

4.18  ·  Rating Details ·  19,759 Ratings  ·  568 Reviews
He was named "Sham" for the sun, this golden red stallion born in the Sultan of Morocco's stone stables. Upon his heel was a small white spot, the symbol of speed. But on his chest was the symbol of misfortune.

Although he was as swift as the desert winds, Sham's proud pedigree would be scorned all his life by cruel masters and owners.

This is the classic story of Sham and
Hardcover, 176 pages
Published November 1st 1990 by Aladdin (first published 1948)
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Best Young Adult Books
260th out of 10,458 books — 70,842 voters
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Horse Books/Novels
3rd out of 852 books — 532 voters

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Community Reviews

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Jul 28, 2016 Birchsilver rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Absolutely brilliant!
Marguerite Henry's writing comes to life between the pages of this exquisite book.

Every word created a scene before my eyes - the dusty stables of Morocco, the grandeur of the French Court, the dirt of Newgate, and finally the rolling pastures of England.
The characters, with absolutely no depth, suited the story - Agba's muteness was perfect.
If he was able to speak, the story probably would've been ruined.

The writing is beautiful and lyrical, with amazing descriptions o
Jun 03, 2012 Mirrani rated it it was amazing
It seems like all the "classic" books about horses follow the same mold; the horse is born, grows up, learns how to handle humans, goes through a casting out period where they are treated horribly and become separated from the people they love, then somewhere toward the end they find their family or human again and all is restored in the world. This book fits right in with that category, so why do we all love it so deeply?

The story of Sham is the story of hope, of struggle through hardship and t
Jinn Nelson
Nov 01, 2009 Jinn Nelson rated it it was amazing
Shelves: audiobooks
This book is amazing.

It's told by a mute boy. No joke. It's amazing because it's about a horse and his boy who is mute, and stays mute through the whole story. Probably my favorite thing about this book is that one of the main characters tells you all about what happened to him and his his horse without saying a thing.
Joy H.
Added 2/1/11. (first published 1948)
Below are the comments I made about _King of the Wind_ at my GR group:

I recently listened to the audio version of King of the Wind: The Story of the Godolphin Arabian (first published 1948) by Marguerite Henry. It won the 1949 Newbery Medal, an award given to the author of the most distinguished contribution to American literature for children.

This fictionalized story is based on fact. The Godolphin Arabian is the ancestor of the finest thoroughbred horses. T
Oct 07, 2011 Wendy rated it it was amazing
Shelves: horses-fiction
This is one of my favorite books of all time. I'm aware that the vast majority of it is made up, but the way Henry weaves the story makes it believable anyway. You want Sham and Agba to be together again, even if Agba wasn't real at all.

One of the criticized portions of the story, the cat Grimalkin, actually was real, if not in quite the way he appeared in this book, by the way.

Henry tells an entertaining, compelling tale which has endeared the Godolphin Arabian, one of three tail-male foundatio
Jan 02, 2013 Kathi rated it really liked it
I was happy to become reacquainted with Marguerite Henry in this early-ish Newbery winner. Google sources gave me a new appreciation of her from learning about her childhood illness that made her bedridden for six years, to a tribute from her publisher in a commemorative edition of the book. Henry's charm and kindness were noteworthy; plus, what an example of well-lived years: Henry published her last book shortly before she died at 95!

I also enjoyed the history in King of the Wind, as well as
Nandakishore Varma
Dec 13, 2015 Nandakishore Varma rated it really liked it
I read this book in my preteen era. I checked it out from the library during summer holidays at my ancestral home: but I could not read it because I caught an eye infection. I left for school with the tragedy of an unread book burning in my heart. So imagine my delight when, next year when I came back for the vacation, I found the book still there - my aunt had forgotten to return it! The library must have written it off as "lost".

The story of the Godolphin Arabian, blessed with unbelievable spe
Apr 23, 2009 Josiah rated it really liked it
Few authors bring more sympathy and enlightenment to the story of a horse than Marguerite Henry, and "King of the Wind" happens to be one of her very best such books, if not her magnum opus.
The story of the closeness between the Godolphin Arabian and his young, fiercely loyal master has an emotional stickiness that can't be beat by much else in literature. Ultimately, though the historicity of the story is nothing short of fascinating, I think it is this resonant tenderness of relationship tha
Sep 06, 2014 Sheila rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-aloud, horse
This was an enjoyable read, by quintessential horse book author Marguerite Henry. I enjoyed learning the hard luck, riches to rags to riches story (even fictionalized as it was) of the Godolphin Arabian, one of the founding sires of the Thoroughbred horse breed.

The book also tells the story of Agba, a faithful human that follows the horse he calls "Sham", through his entire life. I'm not sure how much of Agba's story is true, or if Agba even ever existed, but I would like to think that he did.
Rebecca McNutt
Jun 05, 2015 Rebecca McNutt rated it it was amazing
Well-written, vivid and memorable horse story, a definite classic and filled with action and adventure.
Jan 17, 2013 Samuel rated it it was ok
Shelves: children, newbery
Before I get much farther into this review, I should probably say that I've never been a "horse book" kind of reader. So if you love Black Beauty and National Velvet and The Black Stallion, you may well like King of the Wind more than I did. A lot of the rest of this Goodreads page is full of people who swear by it, largely based on its excellent descriptions of horses and horse behavior.

I can't argue with that -- Henry clearly knew her horses -- but I still wasn't all that sold on King of the W
Joan Innes
This classic was a true horse-lovers adventure. The story begins in the royal Arabian household with one of the finest fillies in the kingdom foaling a young colt. From the onset of its life, the beautiful colt has many signs declaring a life of contradictions; greatness and difficulties that prove to be true. It is born during a full moon during Ramadan and has two markings on its sleek coat that signify luck and hardship. Like the stories of the Arabian Nights, this story is full of superstiti ...more
Anne Osterlund
Jun 11, 2011 Anne Osterlund rated it liked it
Agba is a Moroccan slave boy who works with horses. And falls in love with a small colt bearing the marks of both greatness and danger. The boy names the horse Sham and together they race like the wind.
When the Sultan of Morocco selects Sham as one of the six perfect horses to send to the king of France (ordering Agba to go with him), the boy believes the horse’s destiny is about to unfold.

But will Sham’s destiny be that of greatness?

Or will the mark of danger dominate both of their lives?

A fict
Kate Schwarz
Dec 03, 2012 Kate Schwarz rated it liked it
Shelves: newbery
Great trip down memory lane for me--Marguerite Henry was one of my very, very favorite authors as a horse-obsessed kid. I will have to read Misty of Chincoteague soon, even though it's not a Newbery Book (just an honor book...still very worth of my 2353rd read in my life).

I liked the historical fiction aspect of the novel, loved the story of the first Arabian to arrive in Europe and strengthen the bloodlines of the horses there, and the story of Agba, the little mute horseboy, and his devotion
Laura Verret
So, I’m not a big fan of horse fiction. At all. By horse fiction I mean books about little children (usually girls) who fall in love with a beautiful horse, can think of, dream of, and live with nothing else. This genre tends to be super repetitive.

But not King of the Wind. King of the Wind is in a different class altogether. It oozes of Arabian sand and high-blooded stallions. But before I get ahead of myself...

The Story.

Agba has lost his heart; lost it to the beautiful mare, the mare who live
Rena Sherwood
You don’t have to be a horse lover to love Marguerite Henry’s classic children’s tale King of the Wind (Rand McNally; 1948.) Winner of the prestigious Newberry Award in 1949, this is Henry’s best known book after her Misty of Chincoteague series. Like many other of Henry’s books, King of the Wind is told from a child’s point of view.

In this case, the child is a mute slave named Agba from Morocco who works in the Sultan’s stables long before the thoroughbred breed was created. He manages to raise
Marin Ehrmantraut
Mar 06, 2013 Marin Ehrmantraut rated it it was amazing
This was a very good book! If you love horses, this is a good book for you. It is about a boy named Agba and his horse. He is mute, but he is the most favored horse boy of his leader in Morocco. His leader chooses six of his most prized horse boys and their horses, and sends them off to France. It is a very hard journey, and when they get there, France does not welcome them to the royal stables, and they must part. Agba and his horse are the only ones who do not go back to Morocco. The royal le ...more
Anna Lee
Oct 09, 2012 Anna Lee rated it really liked it
I read the novel and Newberry Award winner, 'King of the Wind' by Marguerite Henry.I would reccommend this book to someone that loves fiction and horses. This book is about a horse and an owner, Agba, who go on an adventure together across the world. You would also like this book if you love Arabian culture. I would not reccommend this book to people who don't like stories about animals, or bonding between man and animal. This book is best suited for a young adult who likes anything about an ani ...more
Julia Brumfield
Aug 18, 2016 Julia Brumfield rated it really liked it
This was one of the books that I had come upon in my childhood when I was in the mood where a good portion of girls either love horses and/or also want one of own. In my case I don't know if I ever truly begged my parents for a horse but I was into all books of horses and ponies while even disliking one girl in third grade as she lied to a teacher thus taking away my Smithsonian guide of horses and ponies from around the world (which I never did get it back).

This time going around the reading
one of the first marguerite henry books i read, i was surprisingly disappointed. i felt the story didn't move fast enough, and the details she included weren't interesting enough, that i never read it again. (i reread everything when i was younger - honestly. if i didn't read it at least twice, something was really wrong.) however, i want to pick it up again and see what i think now, because it does tell the true story of how the thoroughbred was "created" out of three strands of arabians in the ...more
Dec 17, 2015 D.C. rated it it was ok
Shelves: newberies
Really battling about whether to give this one two or three stars. In all fairness, this is a book about a horse. I am a male. Take that into consideration. I've read a multitude of Newbery yarns similar to this where a main character or two goes on a long, seemingly endless adventure. There weren't many distinguishing elements here. And pardon me, but I don't understand how the horse went on to become so revered in the land (what, exactly, did he do that proved him worthy?) The illustrations we ...more
Mar 11, 2016 Jenny rated it really liked it
My daughter read this and wanted me to read it as well. I enjoyed it and was drawn in by the story. I liked one of the main characters, Agba, who is a mute. The omniscient narrator tells you of Agba's feelings but, since he can't express himself out loud, you can feel the feelings the the narrator ascribes to the boy. It almost makes it easier to really enter the story. Agba is loyal to his horse whom he helped from the time the horse was born. Agba was single-minded and didn't give up despite t ...more
Jul 09, 2010 Heather rated it really liked it
The story of the Godolphin Arabians begins here. Sham is born under the new moon during Ramadan – a sign that he will be “strong and swift.” He bears the “wheat ear,” foretelling bad luck as well as a white spot on his heel, foretelling good luck. Right from the beginning, the horse faces conflict as his owner attempts to kill him. A mute slave boy, Agba decides to protect Sham and stay with him throughout his life. They are sent with five others across the Mediterranean to France, where their s ...more
Mar 05, 2016 Tania rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
King of the Wind is the perfect example of how to fictionalize a true story. None of the elements added to the story took away from the story itself, they simply added its heart and soul. Reading this story, both as a child and an adult, I can place myself in Agba's shoes [or bare feet] and walk those thousands of miles with him and Sham through time. King of the Wind is my favorite horse story, and honestly favorite book, of all time. Henry impresses upon the reader all the beauty and majesty o ...more
Jun 28, 2011 Wanda rated it it was amazing
I first read King of the Wind years ago when I was a girl and reading every horse book I could get my hands on. This is a story that has stayed with me for years and I have read it aloud to my children. (Their dad even listened in). The true story of the Godolphin Arabian, this book chronicles the history of the golden stallion from Morocco who became the ancestor of all modern day race horses. It is a captivating tale of the long journey and adventures of the horse and the poor mute stable boy ...more
Deb (Readerbuzz) Nance
Mar 12, 2016 Deb (Readerbuzz) Nance rated it liked it
Shelves: newbery
This is the story of the founding father of racehorses, Sham, “King of the Wind,” and his friend, the stable boy, Agba. The story begins in Morocco where the sultan sends Sham and Agba off to France as a gift for the king. But the French laugh at the little horse and Sham is sent off to a series of owners, here and there, loved and hated, until he finally ends up in England. It is only in England when the true nature of Sham’s racing abilities are realized through his offspring, three horses who ...more
There are many things I like about this based on a true story book. However, Henry took a lot of liberties with the story. She writes of the Arabians as a blood-thirsty lot of often cruel Muslims. Keep in mind the story was written in 1948, so it was more acceptable to use sterotypes.

I like the idea of the mute caretaker of Sham, but that is not part of the true story. Sham also wasn't cast out or mistreated in real life.

I'm not a huge fan of animal stories, but this book is interesting.
V. Gingerich
Sep 10, 2012 V. Gingerich rated it really liked it
Much as I love animals, I don't love animal books. This one, however, had an exotic setting- Morocco, France & England- and it had neat illustrations. I couldn't count how many times I've read this book.
Sep 07, 2014 Susan rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: adventure, horses
As an adolescent horse fanatic, I read every horse book that I could get my hands on. I read this one many times, in fact I purchased a copy a few years ago.
Oct 06, 2015 Alexa rated it it was amazing
This book was a good book that not only told a story, but also showed the reader the evolution of the modern Thoroughbred horse.
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Children's Books: This topic has been closed to new comments. The Medal winner from 1949 - King of the Wind - D&A February 2017 1 3 Sep 12, 2016 01:07PM  
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2015 Reading Chal...: King of the Wind by Marguerite Henry 1 7 Feb 17, 2015 02:58PM  
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Marguerite Henry (April 13, 1902-November 26, 1997) was an American writer. The author of fifty-nine books based on true stories of horses and other animals, her work has captivated entire generations of children and young adults and won several Newbery Awards and Honors. Among the more famous of her works was Misty of Chincoteague, which was the basis for the 1961 movie Misty, and several sequel ...more
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