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King of the Wind: The Story of the Godolphin Arabian

4.17  ·  Rating Details  ·  18,340 Ratings  ·  526 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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Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone by J.K. RowlingThe Hunger Games by Suzanne CollinsThe Lightning Thief by Rick RiordanTwilight by Stephenie MeyerThe Giver by Lois Lowry
Best Young Adult Books
262nd out of 10,060 books — 67,813 voters
Black Beauty by Anna SewellThe Black Stallion by Walter FarleyKing of the Wind by Marguerite HenryMisty of Chincoteague by Marguerite HenrySeabiscuit by Laura Hillenbrand
Horse Books/Novels
3rd out of 813 books — 497 voters

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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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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.
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
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
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
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.
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.
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
Joy H.
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. The story tells about a swift and spir
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
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
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
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
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
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
Aug 26, 2012 Carolyn rated it really liked it
Shelves: battle-books
This book is an adventure story for any kid who loves horses. I need to do some digging to see how much of this is based on fact. Since it takes place in several countries and over a hundred years ago it might be best read aloud so some context could be provided for kid readers (does the average 9 year old understand about Morrocan sultans or Parisian nobleman?).

This features an orphan (almost all my favorite literary characters are orphans - so brave and courageous!) in close relationship with
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
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.
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
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
Jordan Watters
Jan 18, 2016 Jordan Watters rated it really liked it
While there is an obvious appeal to the horse lover, even the reader not particularly interested in horses will be drawn to the tale of the Moroccan slave boy Agba, who experiences several adventures—some life-threatening—with the horse he tends, until the two finally reach the Earl of Godolphin's spacious estate. More than a standard horse tale, this is an exciting story with a fast-paced plot and vivid descriptions. Agba, a seemingly powerless character because of his slave status, not being a ...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.
Shayan Khalique
Oct 08, 2015 Shayan Khalique rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This was such a great book. It's about a boy and his horse that is really fast, they keep on facing hardships such as harassment and abuse, and getting separated. But they always manage to get back together and everything ends up all right. It takes you on an emotional roller-coaster that made you have deep feelings for the characters in the book (such as Sham and Agba). (view spoiler) ...more
Shelley Chastagner
Mar 05, 2015 Shelley Chastagner rated it it was amazing
Loved this one as a kid!
Oct 20, 2014 Statler rated it liked it
King of Wind by Marguerite Henry is a good book. It is a great book about this boy that takes care of horses for the sultan. His favorite mare has a colt and it has a white spot back by its back hoof, the white spot is supposed to mean that the horse will be very fast. But it also has a wheat ear on its chest which is supposedly very bad luck. It grows up and becomes the fastest horse in the stables. The sultan decides to give presents to a prince so he gives some of his best horses to him. They ...more
Mekenna Price
Personally, I read this book because I am in love with horses. This book shows other, however, how they can love horses, and creatures in general. It is about a boy who cares so much for this horse. They have a special bond, not magical or anything, and they horse knows it too. What I thought was interesting was that the main character was a mute. So you literally only saw his thoughts and how he felt. I felt so much love for the horse just by reading it. I also liked how they even put in real f ...more
Dec 24, 2014 Anastasia rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: horse lovers around 10-12 and 20+
Shelves: favorites
King of the Wind is one of my favorite books; it has adventure and danger, a good author, a good plot and no plot-holes that I can find. It is written in third person, which sometimes can make you feel apart from the story, but it is awesome in this book. The chapters are short, which makes you feel like you can read a whole bunch without using up too much time, sort of like eating cream-puffs :P
the book revolves around a slaveboy named Agba and his horse, Sham. It starts before Sham is born, an
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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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