Title: Justin Morgan Had a HorseJustin Morgan Had a Horse
Author: Marguerite Henry
Illustrator: Wesley Dennis
Pages: 160
Recommended Ages: 9 – 14
Star Rating: ★★★★★

The author of King of the Wind returns!

The Story.

Justin Morgan didn’t really want a horse. What he wanted was cash to pay for his doctor’s bills. But his friend, Farmer Beane, has nothing else to give him as payment for the loan Justin generously gave him. So Justin accepts it. Joel, a student who has been traveling with Justin, is tickled when Farmer Beane throws in a scrawny little colt as part of the bargain.

But Joel’s father won’t let Joel keep Little Bub, as he calls the horse. Justin Morgan lets him gentle Little Bub, but then rents him out to the surrounding farmers to bring in some extra cash. Will Joel ever be able to call Little Bub his own?


Joel’s father is a harsh, insensitive man who does not understand Joel’s character.  Joel does not disrespect him, but both he and his mother feel his lack of empathy. He forbids Joel to keep Bub, and arranges to send Joel to Mister Chase, the miller, as an apprentice. Mr. Chase is a relational man who views Joel as a son. He and Joel get along wonderfully.

Although a “horse story”, Justin Morgan Had a Horse has historical significance – the Morgan horse is one of the earliest American breeds, and is still a favorite breed for horse riders today.

Justin Morgan, Joel’s schoolmaster, is a religious man who quotes Scriptures to Joel. This obviously influences Joel, who prays whenever he is in difficulty.

‘Gosh’, ‘Jove’, and ‘Jehoshaphat’ are each used once.

Conclusion. Good. Animal lovers will enjoy this story.

Review © 2013 Laura Verret

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