Award-Winning Books Crime, Thriller, Mysteries and Puzzles Early Readers Features Genre Lifespan of a Reader Non-fiction Wednesday Nonfiction Picture Books Reading Themes

[Nonfiction Wednesday] When Your Marine Sergeant Happens To Be A “Reckless” Horse

"Sergeant Reckless: The True Story Of The Little Horse Who Became A Hero" by Patricia McCormick and Illustrated by Iacopo Bruno.

Myra here.

We are delighted to join the Nonfiction Picture Book meme 2018 hosted by Alyson Beecher @ Kid Lit Frenzy. We would also be linking our nonfiction choices with our reading themes throughout the year, when we can.

When I learned about this true story of a horse promoted to Marine Sergeant, I just know that it will fit our theme perfectly.

Sergeant Reckless: The True Story Of The Little Horse Who Became A Hero

Written by Patricia McCormick Illustrated by Iacopo Bruno
Published by Balzer + Bray (2017)
ISBN-10: 0062292595 (ISBN13: 9780062292599)
Literary Award: Texas Bluebonnet Award, 2018-2019
Borrowed from the Jurong West Public Library through inter-library loan. Book photos taken by me.

The US Marines are fighting in the Korean War, and were growing increasingly tired from hauling heavy ammunition uphill.

Enter this bedraggled sorrel mare with the huge appetite (from bread to oatmeal and scrambled eggs and washing it down with ice-cold Coca Cola) – and things changed radically for the Marines.

The story shows the remarkable transformation of Private Reckless who evidently won the hearts of the Marines; even more so, when she proved her mettle during battle.

While I was taken by the story, I was even more amazed by the overall design, typography, and how the text was juxtaposed with the illustrations. The seamlessness of it was just so artfully done, that I find myself gasping out loud as I turn the pages. Apart from the gorgeous images above, here are a few more, showing how the artist made full use of certain elements in the illustration to insert the text.

In the image above, the text is cleverly inserted in a card-shaped frame. The art really takes centre-stage throughout the narrative, notwithstanding the highly engaging way that Patricia McCormick has built up Private Reckless’ narrative.

The image above is another example of how masterfully the text is inserted into that official-looking clipboard, with check marks included. Even the way the Author’s Note and the list of References for additional information have been crafted is a thing of beauty, not to mention the endpapers and the Back Cover. Evidently, I am smitten by this book: truly a work of art. For teachers who wish to use this book in the classroom, here is a downloadable PDF guide containing Discussion Questions and possible Classroom Activities that can be done with students.

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Myra is a Teacher Educator and a registered clinical psychologist based in Al Ain, United Arab Emirates. Prior to moving to the Middle East, she lived for eleven years in Singapore serving as a teacher educator. She has edited five books on rediscovering children’s literature in Asia (with a focus on the Philippines, Malaysia, India, China, Japan) as part of the proceedings for the Asian Festival of Children’s Content where she served as the Chair of the Programme Committee for the Asian Children’s Writers and Illustrators Conference from 2011 until 2019. While she is an academic by day, she is a closet poet and a book hunter at heart. When she is not reading or writing about books or planning her next reads, she is hoping desperately to smash that shuttlecock to smithereens because Badminton Is Life (still looking for badminton courts here at UAE - suggestions are most welcome).

3 comments on “[Nonfiction Wednesday] When Your Marine Sergeant Happens To Be A “Reckless” Horse

  1. annettepimentel

    I agree–the art is astonishing! And I love that you included it in your “Crimes and Thrillers, Mysteries and Puzzles” topic area. Makes me think about it in an entirely new way!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I’d been seeing good things about this book and the art is amazing but I still haven’t read it yet.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I have read it, & it is amazing, full of interesting things in the illustrations as well as the text. Thanks!

    Liked by 1 person

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