Klinger, by Betsy Beard

Click on cover image to purchase a copy

Click on cover image to purchase a copy

MWSA Review

Klinger:  A Story of Honor and Hope is an enchanting children’s book that is fashioned more from fact than fiction. The fact that Klinger is based on a real life Caisson Horse makes this tale even more magical.  
From the time of his birth, Klinger believes that he is special.  He dreams of becoming the speediest racehorse anyone has ever seen.  But, even though he is tall and strong, Klinger isn’t very fast. His trainer and owner decide that since he isn’t as quick as the other horses, Klinger must be sent away. It breaks his little heart to be separated from his mother and father. Frightened and alone, he arrives at his new home at Fort Myer in Arlington, Virginia. The soldiers and the other horses are kind to Klinger as they patiently train him for his brand new and important duty as part of the elite Caisson escort team. Klinger feels honored to pull the wagon that carries fallen American soldiers. His sweet and gentle nature makes him perfect for the job of comforting the lost soldiers’ families.     
Ultimately, Klinger discovers that it’s not speed that makes him special—it’s his spirit.  
Beard’s storytelling ability is mesmerizing for young and old alike. The illustrations will captivate the reader as the vibrant images bring the story to life. The artistry and depth of color in the artwork are incredible.     
Much of Beard’s narrative is based in reality, so her tale is as educational as it is entertaining. Many parallels and life lessons abound in this little book. Since all creatures great and small have an inherent desire to feel special, Klinger’s journey to discover his specialness is both endearing and familiar. Hopefully, Klinger’s quest will encourage the child listener to aspire—and the adult reader to inspire.
Klinger will steal your heart with its undeniable charm. I give it my highest recommendation. This quality hardback storybook (complete with dust jacket) makes it perfect for gift giving, and is guaranteed to delight Americans of all ages. 

Reviewed by: Claudia Pemberton (2011)

Author's Synopsis

Klinger, A Story of Honor and Hope is the endearing story of a young horse dreaming of fame as a racehorse. But his life is disrupted and he must leave his parents to start a new life. Faced with difficulty and disappointment, Klinger’s dream of significance seems unattainable. He then discovers that fame is not necessary, as he finds fulfillment in honoring fallen heroes and bringing comfort to their families.