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by Kate Thompson
     
 

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While making his daily deliveries, a baker’s son suddenly finds himself holding a stallion’s golden lead. Soon the boy discovers that this isn’t just any horse, it’s the most powerful creature in all of Rome.

What will the mad emperor do if he finds the boy with his prized horse? Cut off his head? Or worse?

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Overview

While making his daily deliveries, a baker’s son suddenly finds himself holding a stallion’s golden lead. Soon the boy discovers that this isn’t just any horse, it’s the most powerful creature in all of Rome.

What will the mad emperor do if he finds the boy with his prized horse? Cut off his head? Or worse?

Editorial Reviews

ALA Booklist
“A good choice for readers wanting a short, fast-paced historical adventure.”
Children's Literature - Sarah Maury Swan
Mad Roman Emperor, Gaius, has appointed his favorite horse to be his consul, even though the consuls were supposed to be elected by the people. All must bow to Consul Incitatus, and now, the baker's son, Marcus, has the horse's care thrust upon him. Feeling he has no option, he takes the four-legged consul home, only to have his family fly into a tizzy about what to do to keep from being accused of horse-napping. After vainly trying to hide the consul, Marcus takes him back to the Emperor. Unfortunately, as the boy and horse head back, the other horses of Rome begin to follow. It turns out Gaius is dead and the senators need Incitatus to approve their choice of Emperor, Claudius, whom everyone has taken to be a fool. Boy, were they wrong. The story is told in a bright and cheery voice and makes a good introduction to a bit of Roman history. The illustrations are purposefully cartoonish, but nicely drawn. Reviewer: Sarah Maury Swan
School Library Journal
Gr 4�6—This companion to the author's Highway Robbery (Greenwillow, 2009) begins in the same way: a lad is handed the reins of a horse and told to take care of the animal until its owner returns. Set in ancient Rome, this is the story of the mad emperor Caligula's infamous horse, Incitatus, who was one of two consuls, appointed by the tyrannical and crazy emperor. The animal has his own house and retinue of servants, and is fed gold flakes in his oats. Marcus, a baker's son, is handed the horse by a slave boy who seconds later is killed by soldiers. Fearing what the mad emperor, known as Little Boots, will do to him if he finds that he has Incitatus, Marcus instinctively heads home, a decision that could mean a death sentence for his whole family if the soldiers discover the horse. Should he sacrifice himself to save his family? This brief chapter book is nicely suited for reading aloud or for those independent readers who enjoy their adventure and history touched with humor. Marcus's voice is engaging and credible. There are enough references to murder, from the soldiers' killing of the slave boy to descriptions of some of Little Boots's nefarious deeds, to make this story more appropriate for slightly older children than it would seem at first glance. A cleverly told tale of an odd and interesting piece of history that will intrigue young readers.—Connie Tyrrell Burns, Mahoney Middle School, South Portland, ME
Kirkus Reviews

Thompson uses the time of the Roman Empire as the setting for another horse story for younger readers (Highway Robbery, 2009). Young Marcus recounts the adventure that begins when a hurried slave abruptly turns over care of Emperor Caligula's horse, "Consul" Incitatus, to him. Although there's an undeniable thrill to having the responsibility for such a fine steed, Marcus, a baker's boy, is all too aware of the consequences that could befall his entire family if he should manage this wrong. But he's clever, resourceful and observant, and by paying attention to all the clues of daily life, he manages beautifully.The short page count, fast-paced plot and spot illustrations (not seen) should make this a great title for readers not yet ready for longer fiction. Although Marcus is not quite as unreliable as the earlier book's narrator, this tale is significantly more sophisticated in both writing and plot than the common chapter-book ruck. Horse lovers will appreciate Incitatus's horse sense, and fans of such other wily protagonists as Moxy Maxwell and Ivy + Bean will cheer Marcus's solution. (Historical fiction. 8-10)

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780061730375
Publisher:
HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date:
11/23/2010
Pages:
136
Sales rank:
1,407,787
Product dimensions:
5.60(w) x 8.30(h) x 0.70(d)
Lexile:
940L (what's this?)
Age Range:
9 - 12 Years

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