Marguerite Henry, read by David McCallum, Bantam Doubleday I)ell Audio, unabridged, four cassettes, 3 hrs., 20 mm., $18.99 ISBN 0-553-47829-X

Henry's Newbery-winning horse story gallops along at a brisk clip in this fine audio adaptation. Structured as a lengthy flashback, the novel jumps from the historic 1920 match race between Thoroughbred horses Man O' War from the U.S. and Canada's Sir Barton back 200 years to the origin of the Godolphin Arabian, Man O' War's ancestor. At the story's heart is the bond between the glorious Arabian red stallion named Sham and Agba, the loyal, mute stable boy pledged to stay with his charge "as long as the horse shall live." Sham is born into the royal stables of the Sultan of Morocco, where Agba is employed, and right away the boy knows the colt is destined for greatness. Sham and Agba's adventures begin when the Sultan makes a gift of horses and their stable boys to Louis XV, boy king of France. But no one else sees Sham's worth as Agba does, and both boy and horse are passed from one abusive and cruel owner to another. It is an act of bravado on Agba's part that finally proves Sham's Hedigree to the world, and allows the horse to sire some of history's swiftest steeds. The reading by British actor McCallum crackles with suspense. effortlessly matching the quick pace of Henry's tale. Occasional interludes of exotic music played on bagpipes, lutes and tom-toms add to the excitement and enhance Henry's vivid descriptions of time and place. From starting gate to finish line, young listeners will be enthralled. Ages 9up. (July)