19 Dec 2009 Book Shopping, Day NineteenBooks, Christmas Shopping | Elizabeth Loupas
Once again I’m returning to one of my own favorite childhood books as a gift idea for the young readers on your list—Marguerite Henry’s beloved Misty of Chincoteague. Winner of the Newbery Honor in 1948 yet just as heartwarming and gripping today, Misty tells a tale of the wild ponies of Assateague Island (perhaps descended from survivors of a wrecked Spanish galleon in the 1600s—once again there is that touch of romantic history), of a mysterious and magical mare called The Phantom with a white map of the United States over her withers, and of the Phantom’s foal Misty, named because “she came up out of the sea.”
Young readers will read Misty for themselves, and even younger ones will delight in having the exciting story read to them. Will the plucky Paul and Maureen Beebe earn enough money to buy the Phantom and Misty? For me it never, never tires. And even today I thrill to the moment when the Phantom flies to meet the Pied Piper at the end. (I think I always loved the Phantom almost more than little Misty.)
The wonderful drawings of Wesley Dennis are as much a part of Misty as the story. He and Marguerite Henry had a fruitful partnership through the years, and I collected and treasured many of their books—not only Misty but Sea Star: Orphan of Chincoteague, King of the Wind, and Album of Horses.
Misty of Chincoteague is available from Barnes & Noble, Amazon, Books-a-Million, and of course your favorite independent bookstore. In these last few days before Christmas shop a nearby brick-and-mortar bookstore to avoid expedited shipping charges.