100 Chapter Books Project: The Horse and His Boy


It’s kind of strange to see which books in a series made it onto the Top 100 Chapter Books list. Two books from The Chronicles of Narnia did — the first and the fifth, The Horse and His Boy (1954). This is the only one of the series books that is just about characters from Narnia and surrounding countries, with only brief appearances from the Pevensies.

What it’s about: A boy who was raised by a fisherman is about to be sold to a man as a servant. When the man and the fisherman go to sleep, Shasta (the boy) finds out that the man’s horse is actually a Horse, a talking beast of Narnia. The two decide to escape and travel together to Narnia and hopefully find Shasta’s original home as well.

Age level: Grades 4-5

Best part: How Shasta expected the worst of people based on where he was raised but then found that it wasn’t like that everywhere. I think it’s a great lesson both ways — that there are bad people in the world but also good ones and so to be wary but also not to necessarily expect the worst.

Worst part: The heavy-handed religious allegories. “There is no fate, only Aslan” was a bit much for me, especially when Aslan conversely had no problem dishing out Old Testament-type punishments.

Verdict: Borrow

It turns out that a talking Horse is way less interesting than almost any other talking animal. I was bored during the start of the book, drawn in for a bit, and then totally turned off by the religious part and the tidy ending. There were good parts of the story but I would have rather seen them in a different story.

I’ll be taking the rest of the year off and then will be back in January with the last five books of the project! Betsy-Tacy is likely to be one of the titles that made it onto the list because of nostalgia but I’m hoping it’s good anyway.

Schedule – December through March
December 31 – Winter Break
January 15 – #52 Betsy-Tacy by Maud Hart Lovelace (1940)
January 31 – #51 The Tale of Despereaux by Kate DiCamillo (2003)
February 15 – #91 Pippi Longstocking by Astrid Lindgren (1950)
February 28 – #8 Anne of Green Gables by L.M. Montgomery (1908)
March 15 – #1 Charlotte’s Web by E.B. White (1952)
March 31 – Project Wrap-Up!

3 thoughts on “100 Chapter Books Project: The Horse and His Boy

  1. I find it very strange that those would be the two Narnia books chosen… they weren’t the worst, but certainly not the best either from my recollection! And yes, so very heavy handed religiously…

    • Yes, I have wondered if people just thought “I loved the Narnia books” and then went and found a list and just wrote down the first two that came up. Putting the first in a series to represent the whole thing makes sense but I didn’t understand this one at all.

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