Published by Balzer + Bray
Summary: When a group of U.S. Marines was looking for a pack animal to haul ammunition in the Korean War, they ended up buying a scrawny abandoned horse from a nearby racetrack. She was given a military rank, and became known as Private Reckless. The men trained her to duck incoming fire and to retreat, using her insatiable appetite for just about any kind of food to get her to do what they needed. She learned to stay calm in battle, carrying heavy loads of ammunition on her back. In one day-long battle, she made 51 trips, totaling 35 miles up and down hills, to carry 9,000 pounds of ammunition. That earned her a promotion to sergeant, and her Marine friends started a campaign to send her to the United States. They were successful, and she was able to retire with full military honors and two Purple Hearts, the only animal to ever hold military rank. An author’s note tells more of Reckless’s story, including a photo and a brief bibliography. 40 pages; grades 1-5.
Pros: Animal lovers and military history buffs will enjoy this story about a unique horse who won the hearts of the U.S. Marines with her humor, hard work, and bravery.
Cons: Reckless’s diet of coffee, Coca-Cola, and chocolate.