Monday, July 02, 2007

Misty of Chincoteague

Misty of Chincoteague, by Marguerite Henry, 2006, Simon & Schuster, 173 pages, illustrated by Wesley Dennis, Paperback.

When a Spanish galleon carrying live ponies as cargo to be sold for labor in the mines of Peru is wrecked in a storm off the coast of Assateague Island, Virginia one stallion and fourteen mares swim ashore. There, they adapt to the island's climate and populate its beaches. Over time, the Spanish galleon becomes a remote memory to residents of nearby Chincoteague Island-- almost a legend.

Brother and sister, Paul and Maureen Beebe visit Assateague often-- the island of the wild ponies. They dream of owning a pony of their own, particularly the Phantom-- a wild and free mare marked with a white "map" of the United States on her withers. "Paul boy," Grandpa warns, "mark my words. The Phantom ain't no hoss. She ain't even a lady. She's just a piece of wind and sky."

But Paul and Maureen will not be dissuaded. Can they earn enough money by digging clams and gentling horses to buy the Phantom? And how will Paul capture the Phantom on Pony Penning day when no experienced Round Up man has been able to catch her and this is Paul's first year participating in the annual round up of the island's wild horses?

Newbery Honor Award winning Misty of Chincoteague is a delightful tale told with all the richness of the local dialect and color. In fact, Misty of Chincoteague is based on a true story and dedicated to the real life people its likable characters are based upon.

The wild adventure, the example of hardworking independence, the wise grandfather Beebe and Paul's initiation into the brotherhood of Round Up men clearly indicate that not all pony stories are for girls only. Misty of Chincoteague appeals to the young and old of both genders. It is an unforgettable tale told with exceptional craftsmanship. Lastly, Wesley Dennis' illustrations could not suit the story or its characters more perfectly. We love this book!

Others by Marguerite Henry we hope to enjoy include...

King of the Wind
Sea Star, Orphan of Chincoteague
Stormy, Misty's Foal
Born to Trot
Justin Morgan Had a Horse

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As an added bonus, we are going to Chincoteague Island for our summer vacation. Though we won't be going for a little while yet, I'll be sure to post pictures of the sandy beaches and wild ponies when we return.

15 comments:

Kristen Laurence said...

My brother and his wife and kids used to visit Chincoteague every summer when they lived in Virginia. They raved about it!

Margaret in Minnesota said...

I guess going to Chincoteague Island is an added bonus! Talk about real learning!

Great review, Suzanne. We've got a kid going through a book a day these days and are always on the look-out for a supplement to Frank & Joe Hardy. :)

Cath said...

When I first read Misty, I wanted to go to Chincoteague. All these years later -- and even living in Virginia -- I haven't made it. I hope you and the boys enjoy it! I also read Sea Star and Stormy. Both were great. We are planning to read through those and a couple others this summer.

Suzanne Temple said...

Cath, if you read through them this summer, why not go? It's never too late to fufill a childhood dream.

Jill said...

Thanks for the great review, and like Margaret said- what a great learning experience to visit Chincoteague!

Jennie C. said...

Oh! I'm just a wee bit envious. I have wanted to go to Chincoteague since I was a little girl! I hope you all have a wonderful, wonderful time there!

Ann Horan said...

Finally back on line after our move and catching up with you.
We love all of the Henry books and I remember we talked a lot about going to Chicoteague Island when we read them. Plans included the whole pony pennign thing so, of course, we imagined that we would be going to pick out a pony. Maybe one of these days we should be more realistic and just go for a visit.

Suzanne Temple said...

Hi ann! Welcome back. Yea, we won't be there for penning and we sure won't be bringing a pony back with us. Congratulations on a new home! Wow!

Pia aka forget me not said...

This was my favorite book as a child. Thanks for the walk down memory lane!

Aimee said...

A favorite of Older Girl aka The Resident Horse Lover :)

Alice Gunther said...

This is one of our favorite books of all time! How wonderful that you are going to Chincoteague! We would condider that a dream come true!

Joyful Days said...

Marguerite Henry was one of my favorite authors growing up. I am glad my boys enjoy her too.

How neat to get to visit there.

JC said...

How funny, our resident horse-lover, my oldest daughter, just bought and read Justin Morgan had a Horse last night at the bookstore! I loved the Chincoteague books growing up and introduced them to my daughter a few years ago. She reads them over and over, and I was delighted to discover that M. Henry had published more books since I had read them. How wonderful that you all will actually be visiting Chincoteague! Can't wait to hear all about it.

mopsy from lifenut said...

My daughter would love those books! Perfect timing, too, with her birthday just days away. I never got into horses when I was a girl, but she makes up for it.

Thanks for the review.

Laura said...

We love Marguerite Henry! A recent read-aloud book was hers about the White Stallions of Lippizan. We used to live on Assateague Island and have the wild ponies around our house. Our two little boys loved it! If you like clams, you should try clamming while you are there. But beware-the mosquitoes and black flies can be absolutely terrible! Thanks for reminding me of hot summer days on the East coast!