White Stallion of Lipizza
post written by Emma Filbrun
Title: White Stallion of Lipizza
Author: Marguerite Henry
Major Themes: Austria, Horses, Lipizzaners, Vienna
Synopsis: Hans’s family have always been bakers, but Hans dreams of riding the Lipizzaners, who live and perform in his home city of Vienna, Austria.
I have always enjoyed Marguerite Henry’s books, since I first discovered them as a young girl. I loved them then because they feature horses, but now I love them for the great story of people as well as horses. White Stallion of Lipizza is one I remember checking out from the library in the early 1980s, and now I’ve read it to my children several times. The combination of a wonderful story and gorgeous pictures is irresistible, although the original edition, with some colored pictures, was better than the one we have, with all black and white pictures.
Hans’s family owns a bakery in Vienna. For generations, his family have been bakers, so he must become a baker as well. However, he dreams of the famous stallions of Lipizza, who perform right there in Vienna. He times his daily delivery of baked goods to be able to see the beautiful horses going from their stables to the Spanish Court Riding School every morning at 7:00, and he knows that his horse loves to see them, too!
However, it’s not enough just to see the horses every morning. Hans wants to know all about them, and he wants to become a rider. The friendly librarian helps him find books about the horses, and he researches how they do their moves, how they are trained, their history…everything about them. Actually, he is a very good example of teaching yourself, of searching out the answers you need or want. He is also a very good example of doing what he needs to do even though his heart isn’t in it; when his father had a heart attack, Hans gave up his dream to support the family. I also loved the way his parents encouraged him, although they didn’t understand. This is a great book to read with your children!
Here’s a video we found and enjoyed featuring the horses in this book:
Read Aloud—Ages 5 – 8, Family Read Alouds
Reading Independently—Ages 7 – 9, 8 – 12
Links to buy White Stallion of Lipizza:
AbeBooks: View Choices on AbeBooks.com
Keywords: Austria, Horses, Lipizzaners, Vienna