Feb 1, 2018

Meet Sergeant Reckless, an Amazing Little Hero Horse

I'm taking a cue from this real life hero in getting this post out. As I was planning this post more than a week ago, I fell and broke my wrist before getting it typed. Now I am awaiting surgery as I type this with one hand, rather heavily medicated. My post will be short, but I hope no less persuasive to readers. I've inserted multiple links for further exploration of an amazing book. By no means is my effort of the magnitude of the horse or the soldiers in this remarkable nonfiction book. The real characters it portrays deserve a major spotlight, so help me pass on the links, if possible. You're going to love this book, I promise.

I can't begin to understand how this picture book missed my radar until January. Now that I've had a chance to read it and examine it thoroughly, it's an instant favorite among the 2017 book-birthday crowd. I'm hoping it will appear on some or many of the upcoming awards and honors lists.
Balzer and Bray, 2017
SERGEANT RECKLESS: The True Story of the Little Horse Who Became a Hero is written by Patricia McCormick and illustrated by Iacopo Bruno. The cover alone reveals so much about the true story revealed in its pages of compelling text and images. 

There is an adult book about this remarkable horse and this is not a first attempt to share the true history from the Korean War. 
To my way of thinking, though, a picture book of this quality is the best possible way to reach readers of any age, but especially young readers. There are so many things to admire about Reckless; anecdotes to make you laugh out loud and others that will nudge you to tears. 
Here's a summary from Indiebound.org:
"When a group of US Marines fighting in the Korean War found a bedraggled mare, they wondered if she could be trained to as a packhorse. They had no idea that the skinny, underfed horse had one of the biggest and bravest hearts they'd ever known. And one of the biggest appetites 
Soon Reckless showed herself more than willing to carry ammunition too heavy for the soldiers to haul. As cannons thundered and shells flew through the air, she marched into battle--again and again--becoming the only animal ever to officially hold military rank--becoming Sgt. Reckless--and receive two Purple Hearts."
I'm not alone in singing its praises. A Kirkus review praises it, and Publishers' Weekly gave it a starred review. It's an endearing but achingly honest version of nobility, in humans, animals, and a tribute to the relationships they forge, during good times and bad. 

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