Sergeant Reckless

The True Story of the Little Horse Who Became a Hero

Written by Patricia McMormick, Illustrated by Iacopo Bruno

Exhausted marines in the Korean War enlist a scrawny, hungry mare to haul their new cannon, the “reckless” rifle, and ammunition into battle. With no hay to feed the mare, they begin to appease her appetite with a loaf of bread. Thus begins a food obsession for Reckless, as well as an insatiable horse-sized hunger.

The mare was enlisted at the rank of “private” just like all the other newbies and was trained and prepared for combat. She was rewarded for good behavior with Coca-Cola and chocolate bars. Her favorite breakfast was scrambled eggs and coffee.

Soon Private Reckless was put to the test. Reckless proved her bravery in combat, and was an integral, beloved member of the company. Reckless is the only animal to ever officially hold military rank and was promoted to the rank of Sergeant and received two Purple Hearts.

After a cease-fire, the marines returned home always thoughtful of the loyal Sergeant Reckless. Embodying the Marine Corps motto: Semper Fidelis (Ever Faithful), the marines campaigned to bring Reckless to the United States. This historical tale of bravery, loyalty, and love is illustrated beautifully. It combines military memorabilia and documents harmoniously with illustrations of motion and movement.

Review by Angie Winward, Arcadia Elementary Media Center
Rating: ★★★★½ (4.5 stars)
Interest Level: Grades K-4

Sergeant Reckless: The True Story of the Little Horse Who Became a Hero
Written by Patricia McMormick, Illustrated by Iacopo Bruno
Balzer + Bray, an imprint of HarperCollinsPublishers
32 pages
Release Date: September 12, 2017
A review copy was provided by the publisher.

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