Justin Morgan Had a Horse by Marguerite Henry

Published: 1954

Genre: children’s historical fiction

Length: 160 pages

Setting: Vermont, in the early 1800s

Interest: It was the book we read for our American History Club meeting on the War of 1812.

Summary: Justin Morgan was a school teacher in Vermont. He had some doctor’s bills to pay and tried to collect some money he was owed by Farmer Beane. The farmer didn’t have the money, but he gave Morgan two colts instead. Little Bub doesn’t look like much of a horse since he’s so small, but Joel, a boy accompanying Morgan, takes to him right away. Even though Joel is soon apprenticed out, he spends his evenings gentling and training Little Bub. Bub starts to make a name for himself in pulling contests and races. Joel wants to buy the horse, but he can’t afford to. When the schoolmaster dies, Bub is sold and disappears. Joel joins the army doctoring horses, mainly so he can continue his search for Bub. Bub is finally found pulling a stage-coach and Joel buys him right away.

Final thoughts: As a horse lover when I was a girl, I found this story of the founding of the Morgan breed to be fascinating. I picked the book because I thought it was about the War of 1812. While the Battle of Plattsburg is described in the book, the war isn’t the focus of the book. The focus is the horse. The book does a nice job of describing life as a young boy in the early 1800s. It’s not quite as detailed as Johnny Tremaine, but still a good book for a middle grade reader.

Title comes from: Justin Morgan was the name of the schoolmaster who owned Little Bub, who came to be known just as “Justin Morgan’s horse.”

Reading challenges fulfilled: 11/100 in my 100 Book Challenge, a historical fiction classic in the Back to the Classics Challenge, and a J in the Alphabet Soup Title Challenge

If you’re interested in purchasing the book, you can click on the cover image to follow an Amazon affiliate link to the book and thanks for supporting my blog!


1 Comment

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One response to “Justin Morgan Had a Horse by Marguerite Henry

  1. Pingback: 2014: Year in Review | Fill Your Bookshelf

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