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Review: Murray the Race Horse by Gavin Puckett


Murray the Race Horse (Fables from the Stables Book 1)

By Gavin Puckett
Illustrated by Tor Freeman
Faber & Faber

ISBN: 9780571334681
Grades 1-3
In Stores May 15, 2018

Find it at:
Your Library | Schuler Books


There’s a certain type of book

we don’t see enough.

When early readers are too simple,

and chapter books too tough.

A book that can bridge

this gap, it is rare.

That’s why, today

I’m excited to share

Murray the Race Horse

is this type of book.

And I think you will find,

if you give it a look,

a story that’s silly,

clever, and charming –

it’s written in rhyme

and completely disarming.

Murray 1

Murray is a horse

full of big dreams

to race with the best

but sadly, it seems

he is destined to watch from afar

from his stable.

Because when it comes to fast running,

he’s not able.

On the day of the big race

a horse gets hurt.

Murray is called in to

put hoof to dirt.

But the way that he chooses to run

is amazing:

rear end first

with horseshoes blazing.

The crowd is stunned,

can Murray really win

by leading with his tail

and trailing with his chin?


The illustrations here

play a big role.

Well-suited to the text,

they add to the whole.

Friendly, full-color

artwork galore

by an artist named Freeman,

with a first name of Tor.


The first in a series called

“Fables from the Stables”,

Murray the Race Horse

defies standard labels.

A long early reader?

A not-quite-chapter-book?

Share it with young readers

they might be hooked.


Review copy from the publisher.

About Travis Jonker

Travis Jonker is an elementary school librarian in Michigan. He writes reviews (and the occasional article or two) for School Library Journal and is a member of the 2014 Caldecott committee. You can email Travis at scopenotes@gmail.com, or follow him on Twitter: @100scopenotes.