Sunday, March 22, 2020



ABOUT THE BOOK {from Goodreads}:
On an island off the coasts of Virginia and Maryland lives a centuries-old band of wild ponies. Among them is the most mysterious of all, Phantom, a rarely seen mare that eludes all efforts to capture her--that is, until a young boy and girl lay eyes on her and determine that they can't live without her. The frenzied roundup that follows on the next "Pony Penning Day" does indeed bring Phantom into their lives, in a way they never would have suspected.

Phantom would forever be a creature of the wild. But her gentle, loyal colt Misty is another story altogether.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR {from Goodreads}:

Marguerite Henry (April 13, 1902-November 26, 1997) was an American writer. The author of fifty-nine books based on true stories of horses and other animals, her work has captivated entire generations of children and young adults and won several Newbery Awards and Honors. Among the more famous of her works was Misty of Chincoteague, which was the basis for the 1961 movie Misty, and several sequel books.

"It is exciting to me that no matter how much machinery replaces the horse, the work it can do is still measured in horsepower ... even in the new age. And although a riding horse often weighs half a ton and a big drafter a full ton, either can be led about by a piece of string if he has been wisely trained. This to me is a constant source of wonder and challenge." This quote was from an article about Henry published in the Washington Post on November 28, 1997, in response to a query about her drive to write about horses.

Marguerite Henry inspired children all over the world with her love of animals, especially horses. Author of over fifty children's stories, including the Misty of Chincoteague series, Henry's love of animals started during her childhood. Unfortunately, Henry was stricken with a rheumatic fever at the age of six, which kept her bedridden until the age of twelve. Born to Louis and Anna Breithaupt, the youngest of the five children, Henry was a native of Milwaukee, Wisconsin.

Because of her illness, Henry wasn't allowed to go to school with other children because of her weak state and the fear of spreading the illness to others. While she was confined indoors, she discovered the joy of reading. Soon afterwards, she also discovered a love for writing when her father, a publisher, presented her with a writing desk for Christmas. On the top of stacks of colored paper her father wrote, “Dear Last of the Mohicans: Not a penny for your thoughts, but a tablet. Merry Christmas! Pappa Louis XXXX.”

Henry's first published work came at the age of eleven, a short story about a collie and a group of children, which she sold to a magazine for $12. Henry always wrote about animals, such as dogs, cats, birds, foxes, and even mules, but chiefly her stories focused on horses.

In 1923, she married Sidney Crocker Henry. During their sixty-four years of marriage they didn't have children, but instead had many pets that inspired some of Marguerite’s stories. They lived in Wayne, Illinois.

In 1947, she published Misty of Chincoteague and it was an instant success. Later, this book—as well as Justin Morgan had a Horse and Brighty of the Grand Canyon—were made into movies.

She finished her last book, Brown Sunshine of Sawdust Valley, just before her death on November 26, 1997 at the age of 95.

(John) Wesley Dennis (May 16, 1903-September 5, 1966) was an American illustrator best known for his collaboration with author Marguerite Henry, with whom he published 15 books.

He illustrated over 150 books in his lifetime, including  Anna Sewell's Black Beauty and John Steinbeck's The Red Pony. He also wrote and illustrated a few books of his own, among which are Flip, Flip and the Cows, Flip and the Morning, and Tumble.

As I may have mentioned a few hundred times since I launched this blog, I adore historical fiction. I especially enjoy rereading my favorite books from my own middle-grade years--and there are a lot of them because I have been a voracious reader since I was in Kindergarten!

As your read in the above author biography, Marguerite Henry wrote many horse stories. I checked several book sites and found that this 'Misty' series included four books:
  • Misty of Chincoteague
  • Sea Star
  • Stormy, Misty's Foal 
  • Misty's Twilight
I remember reading Misty and Stormy as a middle-grader, but I do not remember reading Sea Star. Misty's Twilight was published in 1992, obviously long after I was a middle-grader. 😊  When I checked out the Misty of Chincoteague paperback from the local library recently, I also grabbed Stormy, Misty's Foal and Misty's Twilight.

I really enjoyed rereading this featured novel a few decades after I originally read it! I was a girl who enjoyed reading horse and dog stories when I was a middle-grader, and that hasn't seemed to change much now that I'm a bit older, although I still remain young at heart.

This author does a fantastic job of documenting the Beebe family's history in this story set on Chincoteague Island, which is four miles east of the Virginia shore. Mrs. Henry shares about the family and other townspeople and the original Chincoteague ponies in a note to readers before Part One of the story begins.

The language in this story is so interesting because much of the dialogue is written in the regional dialect of the Chincoteague Island inhabitants. The narrative consists of higher-level vocabulary and the rich cultural history of these islands and the history of how the ponies arrived on Assateague Island after the capsize of a Spanish Galleon named Santo Cristo in this story. No date is given for the shipwreck, but I did some research and discovered that a ship named La Galga did capsize in this location in 1750.

Any part of the story involving the ponies takes readers on a wild, fast-paced adventure. The two main characters, siblings Paul and Maureen Beebe, are normal middle-graders in the mid-nineteenth century. They love spending time with their grandparents and their farm animals, and they work hard to earn money to make a special purchase, the nature of which I will not reveal in case you want to read this story.

I highly-recommend this book as a family or classroom read-aloud as it opens up opportunities for many discussions about small-community dynamics, animal welfare and conservation, and environmental awareness.

***BONUS CONTENT:   The following information was submitted to me by my author friend,  Rinda Beach
Thanks, Rinda!  🐎 🐴 😁
--Question:  Assateague Island is part of which two U.S. states?

Virginia/W. V      Louisiana/Georgia       Maryland/VA            Maryland/Delaware

Source: Atlas Obscura | Date Updated: March 17, 2020

Learn More: Assateague Island is located in two U.S. states: Maryland and Virginia. The island is known for its bands of wild horses that wander the sand dunes and even go swimming in the ocean. No humans live on the island, so it is operated by three services in order to protect the environment and wildlife: the National Park Service, Maryland State Parks, and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.
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A Special Message from June--I'm sending out my good wishes to each of you hoping that you and your family and friends remain safe during our world's current health crisis. 😊 πŸ™

πŸ”–πŸ“•πŸ“–πŸ“—πŸ“˜πŸ“™πŸ“š πŸ”–πŸ“•πŸ“–πŸ“—πŸ“˜πŸ“™πŸ“š πŸ”–πŸ“•πŸ“–πŸ“—πŸ“˜

***Please join me next Monday, March 30th, as I feature Indie Author Lia London and her new middle-grade fantasy, 'Be Careful Where You Wish'.  The post includes a book spotlight, author bio, author interview, and fantastic bookish giveaway!****

πŸ”–πŸ“•πŸ“–πŸ“—πŸ“˜πŸ“™πŸ“š πŸ”–πŸ“•πŸ“–πŸ“—πŸ“˜πŸ“™πŸ“š πŸ”–πŸ“•πŸ“–πŸ“—πŸ“˜

Find the links to read more great Marvelous Middle-Grade Monday posts from middle-grade authors and bloggers at Greg Pattridge's 'Always in the Middle' Blog.

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  1. I remember my sisters were obsessed with this series. Of course I stayed clear not wanting to read the same books, but your review peaked my interest. Stories about horses are still a popular choice for kids and adults alike. Thanks for reintroducing the series.

  2. Thanks for sharing a book from your childhood. I can see a lot of kids liking this one because so many kids love horses.

  3. One of my favorite childhood series. Still among the best horse stories written for children. My daughter rode English for about six years and I can't believe I didn't introduce her to the books -- she had another series favorite. This series will always remain a classic. Makes me want to read it again.

  4. I remember reading this as a kid. Also loved me some Black Stallion.

  5. This was an interesting blog post. I never knew about this author or her books. She was a very talented lady! Thanks so much for the post.

  6. I loved reading this book when I was a whole lot younger. Thanks for the walk down memory lane.