Misty of Chincoteague by Marguerite Henry Book Review

Review by: dancingonrain



For years Paul and Maureen Beebe have heard stories of the legendary mare called Phantom, the wildest horse on Assateague Island.  Her name speaks for itself.  She lives in the wild and is not seen often.  She always avoids the roundup mens’ attempts to capture her.  But then, while Paul and Maureen are out and about, they spot her and then are filled with desire to buy and tame her.  This brother and sister want to own her.  They have worked hard to earn the money to buy her should one of the roundup men eventually capture her.  But when Paul separates from the them a few days later, he spots Phantom.  And she’s with a baby too, Misty, Paul calls her.  Determined not to separate the mother from its child, Paul and Maureen look for ways where they could buy both.  They and many others realize that taming this wild one may not be as easy as they had originally thought, but perhaps there is hope for her colt, Misty.

It only took me the first few pages to realize just how dated the book was.  While there is nothing wrong with dated books, it didn’t “do it” for me.  I guess this just shows that your tastes can change as you get older.

From the very start of the book, I didn’t think that Paul or Maureen could tame Phantom.  With the way she was described and the way she acted before she was captured, I didn’t think it would make sense if the story had a “happily ever after” ending with her.  If that was how the book would have ended, I don’t think that would have been a very realistic way to go so I appreciated the realistic conclusion of Phantom returning to the wild.

It was a little convenient of how they were able to buy Phantom in the first place, but I understand it’s short book leaning more towards children.  I did, however, enjoy the artwork throughout the book.

One thing I found a little strange was that Misty, as young as she was, didn’t mind staying behind and separated from her mother.  Wouldn’t she have wanted to be attached at the hip to her mother at that point in her life?  Either way, I guess I can accept the way the book ended.

I like the idea that while Paul and Maureen may not have been able to accomplish what they originally set out to do, they were still able to succeed and find happiness through other things such as Misty and this is often the way life goes.  I think that’s a great message for little kids to learn.  Things may not go the way you originally planned, but they will usually pay off in the end if you work hard enough.  There is always the chance of finding happiness in other ways.

I could see the fact that Misty was more than comfortable with staying with Paul and Maureen as a resemblance or a message saying that the younger generation and following generations would be more open-minded and present a hope for change.  Considering that this book was published in the 1940s, that was a very optimistic outlook.