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Friday, November 16, 2012

Historic Horse

My fourth grade teacher read aloud Misty of Chincoteague, and I have loved the story since that experience. I read all of Marguerite Henry's other books (some not until I read them to my sons) and love reading them to children as a librarian. Fourth graders are listening to the 1949 Newbery Medal book King of the Wind. They listen carefully to the story of Man o' War's race against Sir Barton, but they especially like the journey back in time to the story of Agba, the stable boy who faithfully attends the bay mare who gives birth to Sham, the Godolphin Arabian.

Some listeners understand the fasting of Ramadan and feel Agba's frustration with Signor Achmet's enforcement of the Sultan's rule that the horses must also obey the fast from dawn to dusk. In each class (there are 7 sections of fourth graders), one person has come to the realization that fasting applies to the students' daily lives. The students nod when they, too, understand that the word breakfast is the breaking of the fast from dinner until the morning meal. Etymology is such an interesting thing, and I love it when the students are interested in a word origin and want to follow up with research. Breakfast is from a Latin verb meaning "to bite into" and has come to mean "an early bit" in the German word Fruhstuck.

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