After finishing Adam of the Road early last week, Miss M and I started in on Misty of Chincoteague by Marguerite Henry as our next bedtime read aloud. We made quick work of it, finishing it in just over a week.
Miss M loves horses, but she hasn’t read very many horse-themed fiction books yet, other than a few fantasy stories about winged horses and unicorns. I thought this Newberry Honor book (published in 1947) would be a good starting place.
Misty is a “kid” story just as much as it is a “horse” story. Two children living on the coastal island of Chincoteague, Virginia have their hearts set on a horse. And not just any horse — a wild mare living on the nearby island of Assateague. Each year, the wild horses are rounded up on “Pony Penning Day”. The horses are driven to Chincoteague for something of a local festival, where all the horses are displayed and some of the young horses are sold to willing buyers from near and far, before the older horses are returned to the wild. Paul and Maureen Bebee are hard working kids who endeavor to fulfill their dream of not only owning Phantom, the horse they’ve had their eyes on, but her foal Misty as well.
Misty of Chincoteague is loosely based on a true story. The real Misty was born at the Bebee ranch, not in the wild. You can even “visit” her, as I learned via wikipedia that she was preserved via taxidermy after she died! (Okay, that weirds me out just a bit — I’m not sure I want to see a taxidermied horse!). Pony Penning day is a real tradition on Chicoteague Island that began in 1925 and continues today. This surprised me a bit too, since the idea of swimming wild ponies across a channel to entertain the masses doesn’t strike me as fitting with modern ideas of kind treatment of animals. But, I will admit I know very little about horses (I never went through a “horse phase” as so many kids seem to do), so maybe this is something that the wild horses don’t mind too much.
Miss M really enjoyed this book, begging me to read extra chapters each night. The chapters are short, which made it easy to say “yes”! While I wouldn’t say it’s among my favorite read alouds this year, it was reasonably interesting and exciting. I’m guessing that Miss M will want to read more of Marguerite Henry’s books in the near future.
I’m linking up with Read-Aloud Thursday @ Hope is the Word!