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King of the Wind: The Story of the Godolphin Arabian

4.20  ·  Rating details ·  23,729 ratings  ·  709 reviews
The legendary history of thoroughbred heritage is artfully depicted alongside a tale of remarkable friendship between a boy and his horse in this classic story that won the Newbery Medal, now in a gorgeous hardcover gift edition.

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
Hardcover, 192 pages
Published April 14th 2015 by Aladdin (first published 1948)
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Michael Finocchiaro
My daughter is 7 and loves horses. And so it is no surprise that this short book by Marguerite Henry about the Godolphin Arabian was one of her favorites. A fairy tale full of surprises and suspense, the story of Agba and Sham was a nice read. There is a more than a tinge of Orientalism unfortunately, but still it does not distract from the beauty of the prose and the splendid illustrations. A classic!
While I absolutely adored Marguerite Henry's Newbery Award winning King of the Wind: The Story of the Godolphin Arabian as a child, as an older adult, I can definitely understand why and how King of the Wind: The Story of the Godolphin Arabian might not be all that engaging and interesting for a young reader who is neither a horse enthusiast nor all that much into historical fiction as a genre (especially since the two main protagonists, especially since both Sham and Agba his young caretaker ...more
Jun 01, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Jinn Nelson
Oct 01, 2007 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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.
Apr 23, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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 best such books, if not her magnum opus.

The story of the closeness between the Godolphin Arabian and his young, loyal master has an emotional stickiness that isn't topped by much else in literature. Though the historicity of the story is fascinating, I think it's the tenderness of relationship that earned King of the Wind the Newbery Medal.

Jan 15, 2013 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: newbery, children
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
Nandakishore Varma
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
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.
Oct 07, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Dec 31, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Rebecca McNutt
Jun 05, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Well-written, vivid and memorable horse story, a definite classic and filled with action and adventure.
May 15, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book has been my favorite since I was a child and I still love it. My love of horses began with this book.
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?

Nov 12, 2009 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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 ...more
Aug 14, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: horse, read-aloud
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.
Kate Schwarz
Dec 03, 2012 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Newbery Medal Winner--1949

I have to admit--I wasn't too excited about this one when I saw it was another horse story, but it was actually an enjoyable little read. Definitely not something I would normally pick up and read, but a lot of these early Newbery winners have been that way.

This is really just a cute story about a boy and his horse--they travel far and wide, experience tragedy and triumph, and are separated at times--but they always find their way back to each other.
Mar 01, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: childhood
This book was among a handful that were absolutely beloved stories in my childhood. Although I haven't read this book in probably 30+ years, it was still just as magical to me now as it was then. <3
If they still had the library records from my elementary school, one would see that I checked this book out SO MANY TIMES.
Nov 03, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: horse lovers
Shelves: favorites
A classic. I've loved this book each and every time I've read it. It's definitely Marguerite Henry at her best.
The Dusty Jacket
The foal was to be born under a favorable sign—a new moon in a new month—and thus assured strength and speed. While the horseboy, Agba, was asleep, the foal was born and it appeared that indeed Agba’s master was correct for on the foal’s hind heel was a white spot, an emblem of swiftness. Unfortunately, the foal also bore the wheat ear and this foretold of evil. Agba knew this foal was special and he named it Sham, the Arabic word for sun, because its coat was a flaming red-gold. Although ...more
Apr 29, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I was very wary to read this one. I'm not a huge horse lover. In many of the books that I read, these horse loving girls were just devouring books by Marguerite Henry and dreaming about owning their own horses. I knew that I would never have this dream so I didn't read anything by her.

But I was pleasantly surprised. This is the story of a boy who loves a horse. He respects all horses, but he really loves this one horse. Which is how I feel about certain people. They start in Morocco and the
Apr 09, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Sometimes I return to a book from my childhood to find it has diminished with time. But sometimes, like with this book, I return to find the book different, yes, but equally good. I was a horse-crazy kid, and so I loved all the horsey details in this book when I was young. Now, while I still appreciate those details, I'm even more enamored with Marguerite Henry's gift for bringing scenes to life on the page. Whether things were unfolding at the Moroccan stables, or the court at Versailles, or ...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 ...more
Aj Sterkel
My quest to read all of the Newbery winners continues:

King of the Wind was probably an odd book choice for the gray depths of winter because the first half of it takes place in sunny Morocco. The audiobook even has Moroccan music that plays at the beginning of each chapter. The main character, Agba, is a mute slave boy who works in the Sultan’s stables. Agba seems to have an easier time connecting to animals than to humans. He especially loves a small, feisty horse named Sham. The Sultan decides
Dena (Batch of Books)
This book is just as amazing as I remember it. I must have read King of the Wind a million times when I was a kid.

I bought the Marguerite Henry box set for my kids, but they didn't seem too interested in it. So I decided to read this book to them. I'm always a little nervous when I read one of my childhood favorites for fear that it won't be as good as I remember. But I'm happy to say that King of the Wind was just as good, if not better than I expected.

So much passion is packed into this
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
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 ...more
Katie Fitzgerald
This review also appears on my blog, Read-at-Home Mom.

King of the Wind, is the fictional biography of Sham, the horse which will come to be known as the Godolphin Arabian, and his master, Agba, a mute orphan, whose loyalty to his horse never wavers despite serious hardships.

I had a really hard time getting into this book on my own, and I wound up relying heavily on the audiobook, read by David McCallum, to get me through most of the story. I am not interested in horses - or animals, really - so
Anna Lee
Oct 09, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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 ...more
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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