Sergeant Reckless

Written by Patricia McCormick, Illustrated by Iacopo Bruno

Sergeant Reckless is a true story of little horse who became a hero. This story took place during the Korean War. The Marines in this story were exhausted from hauling heavy ammunition uphill to a powerful new cannon nicknamed the “reckless” rifle. One of the marines had an idea of finding a mule to carry the ammunition but all he could find was a scrawny sorrel mare. He took a chance on a little mare and the rest is history.
They named her reckless gave her the rank of private and found she would eat anything they offered her. They trained her using any food for a reward and she learned quickly. Surprisingly she carried her load up the hill without stopping. During her first battle she adjusted quickly to the sounds and feel of shells exploding around her. When in camp she roamed freely and got fed regularly at the mess tent. She became one of men.
She served fearlessly and although wounded in battle kept carrying her load up the hill. At the end of the war she was promoted to staff sergeant and brought to the U.S. to live out her life at Camp Pendleton in California. She is now honored with a life-size statue at the National Museum of the Marine Corps in Quantico, Virginia.
The author brings this story to life and the illustrations are great for elementary readers. It is a picture book worth reading. I would give it five stars. A great story to illustrate the bonds that are established between humans and animals.

Reviewed by Burt Needles, Media Clerk, Orchard Elementary
Rating: ★★★★★ (5 stars)
Interest Level: Grades 2-6

Teacher’s Guide
Author Website:

Sergeant Reckless
Written by Patricia McCormick, Illustrated by Iacopo Bruno
Balzer + Bray, an imprint of HarperCollinsPublishers
40 pages
Release Date: September 12, 2017
ISBN: 9780062292599

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1 thought on “Sergeant Reckless”

  1. I read Sergeant Reckless to my older grades for Veterans’ Day last week and they absolutely loved it! Both amusing and moving and now one of my favorite animal books! Highly recommend you read this aloud to your students.

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