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
* * *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.