Willow King

A caring young girl’s determination and affection turns a foal born with crooked legs into a rising competitor.
Price: $6.95
  • ISBN: 9781561455492
  • Publication date: 09/01/2010
  • Page Count: 192
  • Size: 6" x 8-1/2"
  • Age Range: 8-12


A caring young girl’s determination and affection turns a foal born with crooked legs into a rising competitor.

When prizewinning Thoroughbred Grey Dancer’s foal is born with its legs too crooked to race, Mr. Ellis, the owner of Willow Run Farm, orders him destroyed. But thirteen-year-old Katie Durham, who works in the stalls and has a disability of her own, can’t bear to let this happen. She thinks the young colt is the most beautiful she’s ever seen, so she comes up with a plan to save him.

Katie knows that owning a winning racehorse could change her life and prevent her and her mom from losing their floundering farm. Trading her prize horse Jester to the obnoxious Cindy Ellis in exchange for the colt, Katie takes the newborn Willow King to a remote pasture and begins training him in secret.

With the help of Jason Roberts, the boy next door who insists on being nice to her even when she throws pinecones at his head and steps on his feet, Katie and Willow King begin a journey that takes them through near-fatal injuries and relentless sabotage, and eventually leads them to the gates of the Portland Downs Futurity. With so much at stake, can King and Katie win the race and earn a spot in the prestigious Kentucky Derby?

Inspired by the experiences of a real championship race horse, this moving story celebrates the power of caring.


Chris Platt


Chris Platt, one of the first female jockeys in Oregon, is the author of more than a dozen books for young readers, including the popular horse novels Willow King, its sequel Race the Wind, and many titles in the Thoroughbred series. She lives in Nevada.


“A lively girl-and-horse story set in Oregon that is full of fascinating detail about how these animals are trained to be champions…. Horse-crazy readers will find themselves immersed in the racing world, and will root for Willow King and Katie all the way.” ―Kirkus Reviews

More Details

AR Level: 5.0
Lexile: 760L
Themes: Hard Work, Horse Care and Training, Patience, Sacrifice
BISAC 1: JUV002130 JUVENILE FICTION / Animals / Horses
BISAC 2: JUV032090 JUVENILE FICTION / Sports & Recreation / Equestrian
BISAC 3: JUV039220 JUVENILE FICTION / Social Issues / Values & Virtues