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Raja, Story of a Racehorse Paperback – December 1, 2011


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Product Details

  • Age Range: 9 - 12 years
  • Grade Level: 4 - 7
  • Paperback: 272 pages
  • Publisher: Old Bow Publishing (December 1, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0615540295
  • ISBN-13: 978-0615540290
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.6 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (14 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,373,935 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review


"RAJA is a very, very good book. It's definitely one of my favorite horse books - and I have read a lot of them!  It's heartbreaking at times but also wonderful at others. I couldn't put it down. I would definitely recommend it!"

HorseCrazyGirls.com

"This book is full of heart. I got swept up in the story and the world of racing and show jumping and steeplechase, and couldn't put it down. Hambleton evokes the smells, the countryside, the thrills and the colorful characters with a vivid and knowing pen."
 
Peter Heller, author of Kook and The Whale Warriors


An outstanding debut novel for young people.  Reminiscent of Anna Sewell's classic, Black Beauty, in its deeply felt narrative as voiced by a thoroughbred racehorse, (this novel) is written with empathy and a vivid sense of drama....a moving narrative that will keep fellow horse-loving readers of any age enthralled.

Kirkus

"In a quest to fulfill his destiny, Raja bounds from race-track to fox hunt, city police work, and steeplechase, in an adventure that slowly reveals itself to be a love story. Young equestrians will be thrilled by this fine story."

Alex Prud'homme, author of The Ripple Effect and co-author of My Life in France

"Raja" is an authentic story.  Anne Hambleton knows what it feels like to gallop down to the post and she conveys those sensations to her readers with a sharp immediacy that is certain to delight and enthrall."
Denny Emerson, Hall of Fame Three Day Event rider/trainer, Olympian,
Author of How Good Riders get Good

“Lifelong equestrian Hambleton makes an impressive outing as a first-time author of juvenile fiction, weaving her knowledge and love of horses, horsemanship, and the world of competitive racing into a moving narrative that will keep fellow horse-loving readers of any age enthralled.”  —Kirkus

“A compelling tale of the courage and resilience of a great Thoroughbred, my favorite breed.”  —Michael Matz, Hall of Fame show jumper, Olympic medalist, and trainer of 2006 Kentucky Derby winner Barbaro

“An authentic story. Most authors haven’t ridden what they write. Anne Hambleton has. She knows what it feels like to gallop down to the post of the Maryland Hunt Cup, and she conveys those sensations to her readers with a sharp immediacy that is certain to delight and enthrall.”  —Denny Emerson, Hall of Fame three-day-event rider/trainer and author, How Good Riders Get Good

 “This book is full of heart. I got swept up in the story and the world of racing and show jumping and steeplechase, and couldn’t put it down.”  —Peter Heller, author, Kook and The Whale Warriors

From the Author

So.. I am the author and of course I love Raja's story - because it could be true!  This is a good read for junior horse lovers (10-12). And not just for girls - several boys have loved it! I am a lifelong horse person and ex-steeplechase jockey and I have a lot of horse-loving young people in my orbit. And I read every horse book possible while growing up. In horse book terms, I would say RAJA is...Black Beauty meets Black Stallion meets National Velevet meets Seabiscuit.  Only part of RAJA is about racing. It's really more of a tour through several horse worlds (racing, hunter/jumper, mounted police, steeplechasing) and a book about the random lives of horses.  It's also about perserverance, overcoming fear and second and third chances.  A fun, topical and authentic story with lots of action!  I hope you enjoy it!

Anne Hambleton

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Customer Reviews

4.9 out of 5 stars
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It is a satisfying and exciting read.
Busy Lawyer/Mom
Young readers will be easily able to feel the emotion and joy of the horse and the struggles within his life.
Mirrani
I highly recommend this book to both horse people and non-horse people.
Valerie A. Ormond

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Laura Wintersteen on November 28, 2011
Format: Paperback
What a great book! I recommend it to both children and adults. The author give a great insite to the world of thoroughbred horses!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Natalie Keller Reinert on February 19, 2012
Format: Paperback
Told in a charming first-person voice, with all the chatty horses Raja encounters on his travels weighing in on everything from fox-hunting to race records, Raja: Story of a Racehorse should be required reading for horse-obsessed kids, and will absolutely please their adult counterparts.

It's a dizzying account of just how quickly a horse can be cycled through homes and careers. Raja, a top-tier Thoroughbred, starts out with a promising juvenile career at Saratoga, but soon finds that a horse's lot is to be sold, and bought, and given away, and auctioned off, again and again, trailed by a terror of lightning bolts and a tragic sense that he had been destined for great things. Raja's black rain cloud follows him wherever he goes, and lets loose with the thunder and lightning every time things start to look up.

But you know what the t-shirt says: "Every horse deserves his very own little girl." Raja, the ambitious Thoroughbred who just wants to be the best, might have been looking for luck in all the wrong places.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Busy Lawyer/Mom on December 6, 2011
Format: Paperback
This is a fabulous story about the tumultuous life of Raja, a former racehorse, from birth to racing to slaughter house and back. Any reader, horse lover, or just animal fancier, will love this exciting story. At times, you are in tears, warmed, exhilarated and heart pumping. It is a satisfying and exciting read. Jump in and take the ride.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By AlexBrown on December 18, 2011
Format: Paperback
I read an early, pre-published, edition of this book and absolutely loved it. Anne does a wonderful job weaving a tale of the life of an off track thoroughbred that is at times wonderful, sad, but always believable. You find yourself willing for the story to end well, and you are not disappointed.
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Format: Paperback
The story of Raja is the story of many thoroughbreds: hard work, the joy of the run, and a tragic end to the only life that the animal, owners, and trainers know. It's a good book for racing fans, but also, because of the transitions that Raja goes through, is good for lovers of just about /any/ equestrian sport. Young readers will be easily able to feel the emotion and joy of the horse and the struggles within his life.

Some things that I found somewhat off putting were the differences between the thoughts of the horse and simple descriptions in the text. Often there are times when the thought of the horse could have been just as useful as regular text. The change in tempo was somewhat throwing me off as an adult reader, but might not for younger readers. There were also some things that a book on horse racing and horses in general shouldn't have done... like mix up the Preakness and Belmont stakes in one location (or seem to) and write about someone telling a volunteer at a horse show about all the ways a horse can spook. Someone working at a horse show, even as a volunteer should /not/ be handling them if they have no experience what so ever.

For the most part, it was good to get "in the horse's head" and experience life the way the horse does. I found it particularly eye opening to have the horse humanized in the fact that after he suffers his career ending injury, he goes through a process of discovering what he wants to do with his life. Yes, as a horse he gets moved around without any say in the matter, but discovering new lines of work, discovering new sports, is told from a very unique perspective that puts you into the heart of the character.
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Format: Paperback
Author Anne Hambleton has given us a glimpse into the life of a thoroughbred through the horse's point of view in her novel, Raja: Story of a Racehorse. When Raja is born his owner, a sheikh from the Middle East, has high hopes for racing him. At first it seems that Raja will fulfill those hopes, but his fear of lightning leads to an accident that ends his career before it's even begun.

This sets off a chain of events that sees Raja end up with a variety of owners, some good, some bad, and move from one purpose to another. Along the way, readers get an interesting look at and education about the variety of ways horses interact with humans. Raja learns dressage and steeplechase. He also discovers that not all horses race. For instance, some are set to work in fields, while others are police horses. Some owners treat their horses well and develop special bonds with them, others see them merely as a means to an end, like winning races or keeping a farm going. Some owners don't know how to care for horses, and the animals suffer from neglect.

Through the eyes of Raja readers see both the good and the bad, and they get a feeling for how much horses (and other animals) depend on the humans in their lives to protect them from harm. Raja's connections to the people who care for him, his fears of lightning and the "kill buyer" at auction, his love of running and open pastures, all combine to make his story both touching and educational. You'll cheer him on to the very last page.

The author provided me with a copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.
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By Sharon Miner on February 27, 2013
Format: Paperback
I was pleasantly surprised when I read this novel, Raja, by Anne Hambleton. At first, I thought it was a true story of an unknown racehorse, but as soon as I began reading it, I realized it was a novel a-la-Black Beauty in a contemporary U.S. east coast setting.

In the beginning, Raja, a Thoroughbred colt born in Ocala, Florida, describes his childhood and how his dam was struck and killed by lightning. This caused him to be panic-stricken whenever he experienced a thunderstorm no matter who was riding him. A series of events causes him to be moved from the track to several different stables - some nice and some not so much.

Like Black Beauty, this novel explains the special bonds between horses and riders, the horrors of some trainers and the unfortunate truth behind horse auctions.

It was a delight to read how Raja met up with childhood friends later in life, both human and equine.

A great read for all horse lovers by this former steeplechase jockey!

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