Justin Morgan Had a Horse
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Justin Morgan Had a Horse

3.99 of 5 stars 3.99  ·  rating details  ·  4,657 ratings  ·  98 reviews
Joel Goss knows that Little Bub is a special colt, even though he's a runt. And when schoolteacher Justin Morgan asks Joel to break the colt in, Joel is thrilled! Soon word about Little Bub has spread throughout the entire Northeast -- this spirited colt can pull heavier loads than a pair of oxen. And run faster than thoroughbreds! This is the story of the little runt who...more
Paperback, 169 pages
Published June 1st 2007 by Aladdin Paperbacks (first published 1945)
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Abigail Larsen
Meet Marguerite Henry, one of my favorite childhood authors. Why? Because all the stories I read by her were about horses, and like most young girls, I was horse crazy. Justin Morgan Had a Horse was her only chapter book that I remember reading through three times. I recommend it to all fellow horse-lovers out there. The trueaccount (with a fictional twist) of how the popular breed Morgan came to be in the late eighteenth century, you’ll find it inspiring and fun.

It all begins in 1791 whenlikabl...more
Tarissa
If you went to Vermont, back in the time of the late 1700s... you would meet Justin Morgan. He was a man who had a problem. It all started because a farmer owed Justin some money. The farmer couldn't pay the debt, so instead, he gave a horse. To some people, that would be a wonderful thing to receive, but Justin didn't need a horse. He needed money.

One might say, "Sell the horse"--but that's just the problem. No one wants to use their money on a small, (VERY small), scrawny animal, who is weak...more
Abigail Wallace
I never was a horse crazy girl, but I loved Misty of Chincoteague even still. MISTY is Marguerite Henry's best known horse novel. When I stumbled over this one last month, looking for a good read aloud for my 7 and 9 year old sons, it was a no-brainer! With the high drama of horse, his boy and their nation coming of age, not to mention thrilling horseraces and backbreaking hard work complete with both heartache and happy endings, JUSTIN MORGAN did not disappoint! All that in 170 pages. JUSTIN MO...more
Jessica
This book, Justin Morgan Had A Horse, is a classic tale about Justin Morgan, the founder of a great American breed of horse. It all started because a farmer owed Justin some money. The farmer couldn't pay the debt, so instead, he gave him two horses. One large horse was named Ebenezer and the little runt was Lil Bub. Once they arrived back in Vermont, Justin Morgan sold Ebenezer and kept Lil Bub for Joel. Joel Goss was a young boy and one of Justin’s students. Justin had asked him to break the c...more
Katie Dubik Schwarz
Reading a book about horses by the one and only Marguerite Henry with beautiful illustrations by Wesley Dennis…it just makes my heart go back to a happy place, to my horsey childhood.

This is a great piece of historical fiction about how the Justin Morgan horse came about. It's a story of one strong-willed boy and one strong-willed colt. What I like about it for a children's book is that the Justin Morgan horse is barely a horse--it is really a pony. But it is strong and fast and has a sweet disp...more
Laura
Justin Morgan didn’t really want a horse. What he wanted was cash to pay for his doctor’s bills. But his friend, Farmer Beane, has nothing else to give him as payment for the loan Justin generously gave him. So Justin accepts it. Joel, a student who has been traveling with Justin, is tickled when Farmer Beane throws in a scrawny little colt as part of the bargain.

But Joel’s father won’t let Joel keep Little Bub, as he calls the horse. Justin Morgan lets him gentle Little Bub, but then rents him...more
Lucinda
Reading this book was like opening a door onto the past and descovering the history of a breed from the eyes of the very first foundling Sire, back at the beginning of all things. This story came to me from America, travelling a great distance like the adventure that this one little colt went on all those years ago. The most famous of the American breeds; the Morgan, is brought vividly to life in this charming childrens tale that is a national treasure of a horse/ pony story. The book may be des...more
Rachel R
Justin Morgan was broke. He got two horses from a man named Farmer Beane who owed a debt. Justin sold the oldest horse, Ebenezer, and kept short and stubby Little Bub because no one wanted him. Joel, Justin Morgan's student, took Little Bub and trained him as the first Morgan horse. This book took place in Vermont, which is a New England state.

This book is like me because I would be willing to find an animal that no one wanted and take care of it. Also I would love to own a horse like Joel's hor...more
April Brown
A childhood favorite re-visited.

Is the story as good as I remember? – Yes

What ages would I recommend it too? – All ages. Children will enjoy the single storyline; while adults enjoy an easy afternoon read (especially while waiting on a bus, show, doctor, or other appointments).

Length? – Reasonable for an afternoon.

Characters? – Memorable, and few enough that you won’t forget who is who.

Setting? – Real world, even includes President James Monroe.

Written approximately? – 1954.

Does the story leave...more
Gale
GROWING UP TOGETHER

I must be romping through my second childhood because I still love this classic equine tale about the founder of a truly American breed of horse. I enjoyed it now just as much as when I was young; Henry's story holds up with successive readings since the human emotions are sincere, and the dramatic events are true. The young protagonist, Joel, has a passion for horses; as a young man he dreams of finding his beloved, Lil Bub, the first Morgan colt whom no one wanted.
Even mor...more
Lynne Page
I never read this story growing up. Rather, I picked it up as an adult because a year ago I fell in love with a horse, and he was the description of a Morgan horse. I wanted to know more about how the breed came about.

Not sure just how much of this story was real, but I enjoyed it.

And I have to say... After reading this book, that horse really was a Morgan horse. :)
Phoebe
Though a bit old fashioned, this is an interesting story based on fact. A Vermont schoolmaster, Justin Morgan, looks to settle some debts, so along with his young student Joel Goss, travels to a farmer friend to seek some money owed him. The farmer offers him two horses, in lieu of money, and Joel and the colt Little Bub become fast friends. The story follows the close but separate lives of Joel, serving an apprenticeship, and Little Bub, who doesn't look like much but is an amazingly intelligen...more
Theresa
The back says a true story, which if it is added a lot of interest for me. It was written for I'd say 9-12s so they didn't add a lot of detail, but the story was making me believe that this was where the title morgan came from for this breed of horse, and yet they ended it not knowing who the sire and dam was of Little Bub.

Once again, I found story of long ago where parents were cruel and it makes me wonder why it took so long for things to change. I cannot stand to read characters like that and...more
Sarah
We read this book as part of our American History studies this year. It takes place just after the Revolution and covers several more years on past the War of 1812. My kids really enjoyed it but then we haven't read a Marguerite Henry book that they didn't love.
Jordan
Sep 18, 2007 Jordan rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: horse lovers
Shelves: animals
I know I read this book, but I can't remember when exactly. I loved learning about how the Morgan horse came to be since I grew up for the first 10 years of my life at the racetrack watching my father train Thoroughbreds. I was obsessed with horses from a yound age and read any horse related book I could get my hands on. I saw "The Black Stallion" more times than I can recall and wished I could find an awesome black horse to call my own. I made my parents take me to the University of Vermont's M...more
Angela
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
K. Caffee
Aug 03, 2014 K. Caffee rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Any horse lover
Wonderful story that is told in a voice suitable for children and adults. A must read for any horse lover, and especially good for people who have/admire/want a Morgan.
Mandy Hoffman
This is a fun story to read aloud to your children. It was a great story that wasn't too sad, was full of history, and a good length to keep their attention.
Tanita S.
Oh, my goodness, I loved this book when I was a kid.

At first I didn't. I wasn't horsey, and it was a book about a BOY. But, it was one of the rare fiction books I was allowed to read, because someone suitably churchy gave it to us, so I got to read it. And I think it surprised me, with its detail and life, and the fact that the boy had feelings and longings and failed and tried and succeeded. I learned that a.) boys were probably not subhuman and b.) horses might be interesting.

And then a few ye...more
Cheryl in CC NV
I absolutely adored every horse book by Henry when I was young girl. Upon re-reading, decades later, I find that they're entirely worthy of my fond memories. I learn so much history, and so much about horses, and loyalty, and honor, and courage, from her stories. And Dennis's art is lovely and also educational. I think my very favorite will always be King of the Wind: The Story of the Godolphin Arabian but they're all classics that can appeal to new readers every generation.
Heike
This was a great, feel-good book. My dad has referenced "Justin Morgan's horse" so many times that when I saw the book, I knew I had to read it. I wasn't disappointed.
Kyrie
As a kid, it was not my favorite Henry book because it focused more on the man and history. As an adult, I like it more.
Amy
Over all, my daughter enjoyed this book. She noted that the suspense was driven, as with Misty of Chincoteague, by the drama of "getting a horse." - Will they get it? Will they get to keep it? Will they find it again? "The author must really like to write about that," she said. I found this book a bit hard to read because it seemed to change points of views/methods of telling the story pretty dramatically. Some kids might have trouble following that. Justin Morgan, the man, dies in the middle of...more
Anne Osterlund
Joel knew as soon as he saw the colt.
Not the larger one, who everyone thought would fetch a good price.
The smaller colt. The one with the ears that flicked forward with curiosity about everything. And with the intelligence to note the snakes on the month long trek back to Vermont. And the one that chased dogs until they ran lickety-split for home.

From that first moment, Little Bub was Joel’s horse. But would he ever be able to work and save hard enough to make their relationship last?

A sweet mid...more
Ivy
The kids and I enjoyed this book pretty well, though the dialect was pretty challenging. They duly contemplated the hybrid nature of historical fiction-- not sure they were able to really deal with the idea that a book could have some ideas that are fiction and some that are fact-- too much nuance for ages 8 and 6 I suspect. The biggest shock to me: I'm the kind of mom who sings the songs in a book (especially when I know them). Finished with our National Anthem and the kids (who go to public sc...more
Susan
A beautiful short story about a man and his horse.

Justin Morgan is given a horse as payment during a poor period. The horse turns out to actually be a very valuable horse when it is finally given the chance to prosper. It becomes a race horse and this story goes on to document how every man and his dog tries to swindle owners out of the rights to the horse.

A story for young adults or teens more than grown ups, but still an interesting observation about how everyone wants a piece of a good thin...more
Wendy
This was an interesting little book. I liked Henry's take on the foundation stallion of the Morgan breed, Figure. It had a few very good, engaging parts in it. I particularly enjoyed the pulling scene. It had its entertaining points.

The ending was unsatisfying, however. As with so many of Henry's books, (view spoiler) didn't sit very well with me. Still, it's a solid entry in Marguerite Henry's collection, and worth th...more
Ebookwormy
This book is historical fiction. The author is imagining what Justin Morgan, schoolmaster, Joel Goss, setter and the Justin Morgan horse were like, and how their lives may have intersected. There is much we do not know, but this wholesome story illuminates the early settlement of Vermont as well as this beautiful American horse breed.
Kari
I just finished this book It is now going on my favorite book list, to share with others.
This book is about this boy named Joel Justin Morgan, his school teacher,gave him Little Bub, a short scrawny little horse,so that Joel could gentle him for Justin Morgan. He became very attached with Little Bub but when the time came, Joel had to let him be sent off. after his apprenticeship time ran out Joel looked for Little Bub until one day... You should read the rest.

~Mimi~
Anna
Another horse story from childhood, another re-reading spent in part wondering how much of the story is true. There is a long list of references at the end, including people, organizations, and books. More documentation here than on King of the Wind, which makes sense since the events of this story are more recent than those of King of the Wind.
Recommended for young readers interested in horses and early American history.
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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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