Ode to Misty

“Do you have the book about Misty?”

I peered over the counter to find a boy about seven squeezing the stuffing out of a plush pony. “Do you know about the famous pony?”

He nodded most solemnly. “My mom took me to the museum where they have pictures and stuff about the wild ponies. Now I want to read the book.”

The sculpture of Misty and a fowl friend was created by Brian Maughan to mark the 60th anniversary of the writing of MISTY OF CHINCOTEAGUE.

Did you ever read Marguerite Henry’s MISTY OF CHINCOTEAGUE? Maybe you had a horse book phase like I did, when you read everything you could get your hands on that told the story of one of those magical creatures. HORSES.

My phase started with another of Henry’s books, KING OF THE WIND. I can remember sitting in my grandmother’s house, gobbling up the story, studying the beautiful artwork by Wesley Dennis, and re-reading the story of Sham again and again. I moved on to all the other horsey classics, NATIONAL VELVET and the the rest. And, of course, I picked up all of Henry’s other books, but especially Misty.

Those are Misty’s hoof prints outside the Island movie theatre.

I don’t know how many times I’ve read Misty, but it’s a lot. First in grade school, and to my own kids, and to my nieces and nephews. In the past couple of years I have read it several more times.

My perspective on the book has changed with time. I find myself thinking about Maureen more than her brother Paul now even though I remain crazy about the colt that changed their lives—and the future of their island.

One thing that increases is my appreciation for Marguerite Henry’s storytelling. Her words and chapters continue to capture young hearts, and older ones too.

That goes for the youngsters in FEARLESS SUMMER. Like the child whose question to Charlotte opens Chapter Seven, kids are reading the book or asking for it in Charlotte and her sisters’ store, Chincoteague Sweets.

It’s only right. Misty is everywhere in Chincoteague. Always remembered. With love.

Misty and her Chincoteague family have their own exhibit in the Museum of Chincoteague.

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