I don't know how many of you have read this book and its sequels. Misty of Chincoteague has been a children's classic more or less since its publishing, back in 1947.
This series was a staple in my literary diet when I was young, and when I went back and read it again last month, I can see exactly why. Maybe it's not as exciting and fast-paced as some of the books I've read that are a little more recent, but it was so... pure. Maybe that adjective is a little too on the nose, but that's the way it felt.
I've always had a soft spot for animal stories anyway. The opening scene, showing a fictionalized historical account of how the ponies first reached Assateague Island, was exciting and fun to read. At points I found the dialogue a bit hammy, but it was consistent and seemed to fit very well with what I imagined people in this tiny rural island town would sound like.
Most of all, though, I loved the family dynamics. First, between the kids. There was some of that sibling rivalry that I never experienced when I was young, growing up as an only child, but you can tell that the kids really love each other. In short, they act like real kids, and that made the whole story feel real. Also between Grandma and Grandpa Beebe, and between the grandparents and the kids. They felt like a real family. The way Grandma worried about them in the storm. The way Grandpa timed his stories with the tide. The way Paul took the lead when his little sister wasn't sure. It's all very true to what a family should be like, I think, and even though they're not perfect, they love each other.
That's the kind of thing I want to learn from my books. How real families work. The sort of dedication it takes to raise and love an animal. Where the line is between a storm and a squall, whether it's relational or literal.
In short, I remembered all the reasons I loved this book (and its sequels) as a kid, and I never want to forget.
5/5 for old-fashioned, wholesome goodness, and main characters less annoying than Anne of Green Gables or Laura from Little House on the Prairie (though those are both good series).
Other books like this one might be A Puppy Lost in Lapland for the feel of the story and The Black Stallion for the focus on the relationship between human and horse.
What animal stories did you like as a kid?