Sergeant Reckless: The True Story of the Little Horse Who Became a Hero

Patricia McCormick, illus. by Iacopo Bruno. HarperCollins/Balzer + Bray, $17.99 (40p) ISBN 978-0-06-229259-9
Bruno’s stylized realism vividly brings to life the story of Sergeant Reckless, the only animal to officially hold military rank in the United States. Starving and abandoned during the Korean War, the former racehorse was discovered by U.S. Marines serving overseas and pressed into service to carry ammunition for a cannon dubbed the “reckless” rifle. More than a pack animal, the small mare who would eat anything (chocolate, Coca-Cola, blankets, poker chips) made herself at home among her new family: “After she figured out which bunk belonged to the cook, she’d clip-clop into his tent at daybreak and lick his face until he woke up and served her breakfast.” Spreads heavy with green and brown camouflage hues depict the Marines training and doting on their charge, while poignant close-ups show Reckless nuzzling soldiers’ faces, training, and performing bravely in battle. In an author’s note, McCormick (The Plot to Kill Hitler) rounds out the story with details of Reckless’s life in Korea both before the conflict and post “retirement.” This endearing story of wartime camaraderie won’t soon be forgotten. Ages 6–10. Author’s agent: Heather Schroder, Compass Talent. (Sept.)
Reviewed on: 07/03/2017
Release date: 09/12/2017
Genre: Children's
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