October 07, 2011

Misty of Chincoteague by Maguerite Henry

There are few things children like better than horses. I myself was no exception and even to this day love reading Misty of Chincoteague. Even though its a children's novel, it can still be enjoyed by all ages.

Paul and Maureen have lived on Chincoteague with their grandparents for awhile. While most on the island work on the water, Paul and Maureen have it good as their grandfather works with horses and raises the ponies to sell. This is a good thing because of the proximity to Assateague, the island of the wild ponies very close to Chincoteague. The story starts off in the past when a galleon wrecks and wild moor ponies are stranded on the island. It goes through the generations of the horses becoming wild and thriving on the island and brings us to the more modern day in which Paul and Maureen dwell. They both decide that this year will be the year they capture the Phantom for their own. The phantom is a wild mare no one has been able to capture in the yearly pony drives from Assateague to Chincoteague. But this year Paul is able to go on the roundup and he manages to drive Phantom, and her newborn foal Misty to Chincoteague where he and Maureen can try to claim them as their own. But will they truly ever be able to tame the wild phantom's spirit?

Because it is a children's novel I didn't really expect the characters to be too developed. However, Henry does a great job with the characters in this book. You really feel a warmness for grandpa Beebe and hopeful for Paul and Maureen in their quest to own the wild horse. There are other characters of course, but they play minor roles in this book.

Henry's writing is clear and easy to understand and well suited to young children. With the exception of the place names, nothing would be too hard for a young child to read on their own. There isn't anything offensive or hard to read in this book either. She did include some interesting accents to her characters, but that just made them more charming, especially Grandpa Beebe.

A great story and really any horse story by Henry is. She does a wonderful job of writing for children and even adults can enjoy her stories.

Misty of Chincoteague
Copyright 1947
159 pages including pictures

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