King of the Wind: The Story of the Godolphin Arabian
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating

King of the Wind: The Story of the Godolphin Arabian

4.17 of 5 stars 4.17  ·  rating details  ·  14,935 ratings  ·  425 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 swift as the desert winds, Sham's pedigree would be scorned all his life by cruel masters and owners.

This is the classic story of Sham and his fri...more
Paperback, 176 pages
Published December 26th 2006 by Aladdin (first published 1948)
more details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about King of the Wind, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about King of the Wind

This book is not yet featured on Listopia. Add this book to your favorite list »

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  rating details
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...more
Jinn Nelson
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.
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...more
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...more
Katie Dubik Schwarz
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...more
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...more
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...more
Marin Ehrmantraut
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
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
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...more
Anne Osterlund
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...more
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...more
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
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
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.
Cheryl in CC NV
My absolute favorite of Henry's stories. I was bewitched from the first pages, learning about such exotic things as Ramadan and Sultans and politics. Not just horse stories, but so much more! And the illustrations by Wesley Dennis were always gorgeous - if you're new to Henry's books Please! make sure the edition you're reading includes his art-work!
The story, King of the Wind, starts with victory: Man o’War, aka Big Red, a great American horse, beats his competitor, Sir Barton, the pride of Canada. After Big Red’s victory, his admirers expect him to compete at Newmarket, England. But Mr. Riddle, Big Red’s owner, replies that Big Red will never race again. Stunned, Big Red’s followers try to persuade Mr. Riddle to change his mind. They want answers. Why not let Big Red race one more race, the most important race? Why not end Big Red’s caree...more
A favorite in our family. We listened to it on tape when we drove across the country too. I would say it held the attention of an age range of six to adult.

66 1949: King of the Wind by Marguerite Henry (Rand McNally)

King of the Wind is based on a true story and tells of the lineage of the race horse Man 'O War.

Agba is a stablehand in Morocco who is chosen to accompany a stallion as part of a gift to the king of France. The King does not value the gift and Agba and the stallion are sent away.

From wikipedia, " In the novel, the Godolphin Arabian was foaled in Morocco and was called Sham. He came to Europe as a diplomatic gift to King Louis XV of Fr...more
The first time that I read this story, I was in the 3rd grade. The story has stayed with me all these many many years. I was so excited to find a copy of the book at a garage sale recently. I was mesmerized once again and was carried away once again! Now the book is on it's way to the grand boys and I can't wait to hear their reviews!

PS. When my brother & I were young, my mother's sister enrolled us in B. Altman's Book-of the-Month Club for children which was age & gender specific. "King...more
E. Writes
King of the Wind was burned into my brain with startling clarity as my mother read this fascinating tale aloud to my brother and I... and the indomitable spirit of the bay stallion tinged my dreams for years and years to come. Even still that cover art makes my heart beat fast, and I'd definitely recommend this as a read aloud or read alone for anyone, anywhere.
The history behind the Thoroughbred horses in England, (and form thence, America) is worth the read alone, and the exciting adventure t...more
Carl Nelson
1948 Newbery Medal recipient.

This was a childhood favorite of mine, and I'm pleased to say that "King of the Wind" has stood the test of time. An expertly told tale with compelling characters, and Henry never feels the need to anthropomorphize her animal characters. The descriptions are evocative, from the lush exotic sands of Morocco to the soot and humanity of Paris and London to the pastoral English countryside. "King of the Wind" presents complex emotional topics in ways that are accessible...more
Enjoyed it as much the 2nd time through...
Oct 20, 2011 Cathy rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Cathy by: Newbery Award - 1949
I'm a horse nut - always have been - and reading this just brought it out. I could totally "see" the nuances the author described regarding the horses. A lovely story. I read part and listened to part so I enjoyed the best of both the written and audible word. The book has lovely sketches throughout. Though a work of fiction, the basic facts of who and where ring true - except for the sweet dedicated mute, Agba. If we all could have a friend as he ...

He was named "Sham" for the sun, this golden...more
Once upon a time, there was a boy who loved a horse; his ruler sent the pair, along with several other boys and their high-bred mounts as a gift (well, the horses anyway) to the King of France. Being small horses by the standards of the European horsemen of the day, these Arabs didn't seem like much of a gift. Unlike the other horses, Sham, after changing hands several times which took him to an estate in England, had the good fortune to sire a colt which had the turn of speed (by the standards...more
[image error]
A large chunk of my childhood was wasted (?) pretending I was the proud and prolific owner of an entire barnyard. Agba may have had the golden racing horse, Sham, but I had N'Obliez. A more retarded and unsound a name ther never was for a horse, but getting in touch with my animal side thanks to Henry spurred such a creation. This story was a classic, er, is a classically spun story of belonging, or the absence thereof. Clive Staples Lewis was very much correct in stating of his Ho...more
Main Character/s: Sham, Agba
Setting: Morocco, North Africa
POV: Narrator

This story is about the adventure and relationship that a young mute stable boy, Agba, and his horse, Sham, share. Sham is born in the stable of a royal Arabian household. He is born with many signs of contradictions from the markings on his body to the day he was born. Sham is born on the night of a full moon during Ramadan and his markings symbolize: speed and evil. Sham is the fastest steed around and he is cared for by...more
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 99 100 next »
topics  posts  views  last activity   
is this book good 34 91 Jun 06, 2014 03:08PM  
4 entries for the same book 1 5 May 27, 2014 05:23PM  
  • Smoky the Cow Horse
  • Tales From Silver Lands
  • Dobry
  • Gay Neck: The Story of a Pigeon
  • The Island Stallion (The Black Stallion, #4)
  • Daniel Boone
  • Shen of The Sea: Chinese Stories for Children
  • Roller Skates
  • Young Fu of the Upper Yangtze
  • Miss Hickory
  • Waterless Mountain
  • The White Stag
  • The Dark Frigate
  • ...And Now Miguel
  • Shadow Of A Bull
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
More about Marguerite Henry...
Misty of Chincoteague (Misty, #1) Stormy, Misty's Foal (Misty, #3) Brighty of the Grand Canyon Justin Morgan Had a Horse Black Gold

Share This Book